Heard February 11, 2015.
Appeal From Greenwood County Thomas L. Hughston Jr., Circuit Court Judge. Appellate Case No. 2012-213602.
Appellate Defender LaNelle Cantey DuRant, of Columbia, for Appellant.
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General John Benjamin Aplin, both of Columbia; and Solicitor David Matthew Stumbo, of Greenwood, for Respondent.
GEATHERS, J. THOMAS and KONDUROS, JJ., concur.
[413 S.C. 260] GEATHERS, J.:
Daniel Demond Griffin (Appellant) appeals his convictions for first-degree assault and battery, armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He contends the circuit court erred in denying his motion to dismiss, in which he asserted he was unlawfully stopped, seized, detained, and arrested by deputies who had not been duly qualified to serve as deputy sheriffs. We affirm.
On November 30, 2010, several deputies from the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) captured and arrested Appellant. A grand jury indicted Appellant for first-degree assault and battery, armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. A bench trial was held in May 2012.
During the trial, Appellant moved to dismiss the matter with prejudice, asserting " multiple [GCSO] employees chased, stopped, seized, detained, handcuffed, and/or arrested [him] prior to being duly qualified to serve as deputy sheriffs." In the motion, Appellant contended the matter should be dismissed with prejudice because the GCSO did not comply with sections 23-13-10 and 23-13-20 of the South Carolina Code (2007). Section 23-13-10 states that once the sheriff has appointed someone to be a deputy, a certificate detailing the appointment must be signed by the sheriff and the appointment must be approved by a circuit court judge. Section 23-13-20 requires each deputy to " enter into bond in the sum of [413 S.C. 261] one thousand dollars" and take an oath of office. Section 23-13-20 further states, " The form of such bond shall be approved by the county attorney and, with the oaths, shall be filed with and kept by the clerk of court for the county."
In support of the motion to dismiss, Appellant called Ingram Moon to testify. Moon stated she had served as the Greenwood County Clerk of Court since 2004 and had been employed in the clerk's office since 1985. Moon testified the clerk's office had no record of any bonds being filed by anyone from the GCSO. She also stated the first time any oath certificates were filed in the court was on September 30, 2011. Moon produced copies of those certificates. Each certificate contained the oath taken by the deputies of the GCSO and was signed by a deputy and by the sheriff.
Moon also testified that on September 30, 2011, she recorded an order from a circuit court judge. In the order, the judge requested the oath certificates be recorded in the clerk's office (2011 Approval Order). Moon testified that prior to the 2011 Approval Order, no orders from circuit court judges approving the appointments of the sheriff's deputies had been filed in her office.
In the 2011 Approval Order, the circuit court judge listed the names of the deputies whose appointments he was approving. The judge initially noted he believed section 23-13-10 was unconstitutional because ...