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State v. Medley

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

June 15, 2016

The State, Respondent,
Matthew S. Medley, Appellant. Appellate Case No. 2014-001499

          Heard April 19, 2016

         Appeal From Cherokee County G. Edward Welmaker, Circuit Court Judge

          Appellate Defender David Alexander, of Columbia, for Appellant.

          Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General Susannah R. Cole, both of Columbia; and Solicitor Barry Joe Barnette, of Spartanburg, for Respondent.

          WILLIAMS, J.

         Matthew S. Medley appeals his conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), second offense, arguing the circuit court erred in admitting incriminating statements he made while in custody regarding his alcohol consumption. We affirm.


         On the evening of April 20, 2013, officers with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office were working a traffic checkpoint on Highway 150 North in Cherokee County, South Carolina. At approximately 12:45 A.M. on April 21, 2013, officers witnessed Medley run a stop sign and speed away from the checkpoint on his motorcycle. Two of the officers, Lieutenant Steven Bright and Lieutenant Brian Mullinax, subsequently gave chase in separate vehicles.

         Both officers captured the ensuing high-speed chase on dashboard video cameras in their patrol cars. Medley reached a top speed of 109 miles per hour on his motorcycle during the chase. Lt. Mullinax's camera captured Medley running through stop signs and crossing over the yellow center line on several occasions. At one point during the chase, a can of beer flew back from Medley's motorcycle toward the police cars.

         The chase ended at Medley's parents' home. After Medley stopped his motorcycle and ran to the front porch, Lt. Mullinax apprehended him and "put him on the ground." Lt. Mullinax asked Medley whether he had a license and how much he had been drinking. Medley responded that he did not have a license and "[t]oo much." Officers subsequently read Medley his Miranda[1] rights. Thereafter, officers ordered Medley off the ground and brought him to the front of the patrol car, where they placed him under arrest and read him his Miranda rights again. Officers then searched the saddlebags on Medley's motorcycle and discovered approximately eighteen full cans of beer.

         Lt. Mullinax transported Medley to the Cherokee County Detention Center while Bright arranged for his motorcycle to be towed. Medley initiated conversation with Lt. Mullinax during the car ride, apologizing and asking to make a phone call. Medley also asked if he could drop off keys at his girlfriend's house on the way to the detention center. After telling Lt. Mullinax to "take a right" when they approached a stop sign, Medley volunteered that he does not drink much anymore. Lt. Mullinax asked Medley how much he had to drink that day, and Medley stated he "didn't keep count." Lt. Mullinax told him to estimate, and Medley responded, "I couldn't tell you." When asked if he had more than ten drinks, Medley answered, "No, sir." Lt. Mullinax then asked if he had more than five, and Medley replied, "About four." Lt. Mullinax, however, stated he believed Medley had consumed more than that.

         When they reached the detention center, Lt. Mullinax printed Medley's advisement of implied consent form, the breath alcohol analysis report with Medley's biographical data, and the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles notice of suspension. Medley signed all of the documents. Following the required twenty-minute waiting period, all of which was videotaped, Medley refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.

         On August 8, 2013, a Cherokee County grand jury indicted Medley for failure to stop for a blue light and second-offense DUI. The case was called for a jury trial on June 10, 2014. Prior to trial, Medley objected to the admission of statements he made to Lt. Mullinax regarding his alcohol consumption on the night of the arrest, and the circuit court held a Jackson[2] hearing. At the hearing, both parties informed the court that no dispute existed as to what was said and pointed out the portions of the videos that were relevant to the motion. After hearing arguments and reviewing the videotapes, the court denied Medley's motion and found his statements were admissible. Medley later raised a contemporaneous objection when the State sought to admit the statements at trial.

         At the conclusion of the two-day trial, the jury found Medley guilty of second-offense DUI and failure to stop for a blue light. The circuit court sentenced Medley to five years' imprisonment, suspended upon the service of twenty-seven months, and five years' probation for the DUI charge. On the failure to stop for a blue light charge, the court sentenced Medley to a consecutive term of three years' imprisonment, suspended upon the service of three months, and probation. The court also revoked Medley's probation on another charge and sentenced him to a consecutive term of one year in prison. This appeal followed.

         STANDARD ...

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