October 21, 2015.
from Horry County. Edward B. Cottingham, Circuit Court Judge.
Appellate Case No. 2014-001545.
General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General
Mark Reynolds Farthing, both of Columbia, for Petitioner.
C. Phillips, of Lexington, and Appellate Defender Laura Ruth
Baer, of Columbia, for Respondent.
JUSTICE PLEICONES. BEATTY, KITTREDGE, HEARN, JJ., and Acting
Justice Jean H. Toal, concur.
WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
Robinson was convicted of one count of trafficking in cocaine
in an amount between 100 and 200 grams. He was sentenced to
twenty-five years imprisonment and ordered to pay a $50,000
fine. The Court of Appeals reversed Robinson's conviction
holding that the search-warrant affidavit did not include any
information to establish the reliability of the informant.
State v. Robinson, 408 S.C. 268, 758 S.E.2d 725
(Ct.App. 2014). We granted the State's petition for a
writ of certiorari and now affirm the Court of Appeals'
decision as modified.
officer of the Horry County Police Department (Officer)
sought a search warrant for a residence alleged to be
Robinson's home (the Home). The search-warrant affidavit
stated, in relevant part, that a confidential informant had
purchased illegal drugs from the occupants of the Home on
multiple occasions. Based solely on this affidavit, the
Circuit Court issued a search warrant for the Home.
When the warrant was executed, officers found multiple people
living in the Home. In one bedroom they found mail addressed
to Robinson, and a bag containing 111 grams of cocaine
located on top of a pile of men's clothing. In total,
375.88 grams of cocaine were found in the Home. Robinson was
not present when the warrant was executed although a car
registered to him was parked outside the Home.
trial, Robinson challenged the veracity of the
representations in the search-warrant affidavit under
Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 98 S.Ct. 2674, 57
L.Ed.2d 667 (1978), and sought to suppress the evidence
obtained from the search. Robinson claimed that contrary to
the assertions in the search-warrant affidavit, the purported
confidential informant never personally made any drug
purchases from the Home. The Trial Court conducted a
Franks hearing where Officer testified that the
confidential informant referenced in the affidavit never
personally purchased drugs but that Oliver, a third party,
made the purchases. The Trial Court found there were no false
statements in the affidavit and denied Robinson's motion
appeal, the Court of Appeals held the Trial Court erred in
denying Robinson's motion to suppress because the
search-warrant affidavit did not include any information to
establish the reliability of the informant. It therefore
reversed and remanded for a new trial. See
Robinson, 408 S.C. at 278, 758 S.E.2d at 730. We
granted the State's petition for a writ of certiorari to
review the decision of the Court of Appeals.
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding the search
warrant invalid because the search-warrant affidavit
contained no ...