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State v. Bailey

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

April 6, 2016

The State, Respondent,
v.
Anthony Bailey, Appellant

         Heard February 10, 2016.

          Appeal From Charleston County R. Knox McMahon, Circuit Court Judge. Appellate Case No. 2014-001938.

         Appellate Defender Kathrine Haggard Hudgins, of Columbia, for Appellant.

         Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General Susannah Rawl Cole, both of Columbia; and Solicitor Scarlett Anne Wilson, of Charleston, for Respondent.

         WILLIAMS, J. LOCKEMY and MCDONALD, JJ., concur.

          OPINION

Page 623

          WILLIAMS, J.:

          Anthony Bailey appeals his conviction for threatening the life of a public official, arguing the circuit court erred in finding a mental health professional employed by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (the Department) was a public official, rather than a public employee, under section 16-3-1040 of the South Carolina Code (2015). We reverse.

         FACTS/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This appeal arises out of an incident that occurred on August 28, 2013, at the Al Cannon Detention Center located in Charleston County, South Carolina. Bailey, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was being held in the Charleston County jail for municipal level offenses. The victim in this case, Amy Cradock, was asked to assess Bailey based upon alleged threats he made as well as his actions toward detention officers that day. Cradock is employed by the Charleston/Dorchester Mental Health Center, a subsidiary of the Department, and serves as a designated mental health examiner for the jail.

         When Cradock received the referral, she learned that Bailey had threatened to kill a detention officer upon release. Thus, Cradock visited Bailey to assess whether he needed to be hospitalized for homicidal ideations. According to Cradock, Bailey became very agitated when she arrived at his cell. Cradock testified that Bailey " started making some very negative statements about the mental health center, and stated that he intended to go shoot up the health center and kill everyone in the mobil [sic] crisis." Bailey further told Cradock " if [she] didn't get away from his door fast enough, [she] would be added to the list." As Cradock was walking away, Bailey said, " I'm adding you to the list anyway; I'm going to kill you too."

         A Charleston County grand jury indicted Bailey for threatening the life of a public official on February 3, 2014. Following a bench trial on September 4, 2014, the circuit court found Bailey guilty and sentenced him to five years' imprisonment, suspended upon the service of eighteen months, with five years' probation. This appeal followed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

          " In criminal cases, the appellate court sits to review errors of law only." State v. Jenkins, 412 S.C. 643, 650, 773 S.E.2d 906, 909 (2015). " Thus, an appellate court is bound by the circuit court's factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous." State v. Blakney, 410 S.C. 244, 249, 763 S.E.2d 622, 625 (Ct.App. 2014). The interpretation of a statute, however, is a question of law subject to de novo review. State v. Whitner, 399 S.C. 547, 552, 732 S.E.2d 861, 863 (2012). The appellate court is free to decide questions of law with no particular deference to the circuit court. Lambries v. Saluda Cty. Council, 409 ...


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