Heard November 3, 2014.
Appeal From Oconee County. Alexander S. Macaulay, Circuit Court Judge. Appellate Case No. 2012-213018.
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson, and Assistant Attorney General William M. Blitch, Jr., for Appellant, both of Columbia.
Travis Ashley Newton, of The Newton Law Firm, P.A., of Anderson, for Respondent.
KONDUROS, J. HUFF and SHORT, JJ., concur.
[411 S.C. 297] KONDUROS, J.:
The magistrate court dismissed Bailey Taylor's charge for driving under the influence (DUI) because the required video recording of the incident site omitted Taylor from view for a period of time while the arresting officer repositioned his vehicle. The State appealed the circuit court's upholding of this dismissal. We reverse and remand.
[411 S.C. 298] FACTS
On July 22, 2011, South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper E.S. Tolley charged Taylor with driving with unlawful alcohol concentration under section 56-5-2933 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2013). During the stop, as Tolley repositioned his patrol vehicle, the camera omitted Taylor from view for a period of time.
Taylor moved pretrial to dismiss the charge against her, arguing Tolley failed to comply with section 56-5-2953 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2013) because the video omitted her from view for several seconds and Tolley failed to submit an affidavit explaining why her actions were not recorded during that time. The State argued the officer was not required to capture all of the defendant's actions to satisfy the statute's requirements. The magistrate court dismissed Taylor's charge for driving with unlawful alcohol concentration. The magistrate court concluded the statute required the arresting officer to record all of Taylor's conduct at the incident site and required the submission of an affidavit explaining why all of her conduct was not video recorded. The magistrate court concluded dismissal of Taylor's charge was an appropriate remedy when the State did not comply with the statute because Taylor's actions while outside the view of the video constituted " conduct," and Tolley failed to submit an affidavit. The magistrate's return does not contain any findings of fact other than stating Taylor's actions are omitted from view on the video for a period of time.
The State appealed to the circuit court, arguing the magistrate court erred because the video recording captured all of the requirements of section 56-5-2953, even though the video omitted Taylor's actions at the incident site for several seconds. The State asserted the statute only specifically requires [411 S.C. 299] certain aspects of the defendant's conduct at the incident site be recorded and the word " conduct" in the statute is not meant to encompass every action of the defendant. The State also contended its production of a video recording that met the requirements of the statute rendered the submission of an affidavit unnecessary. The circuit court affirmed the magistrate court, concluding the omission of Taylor's actions from view for several seconds violated the statute and Tolley failed to submit an affidavit but, finding the ...