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State v. Looper

Supreme Court of South Carolina

November 8, 2017

The State, Respondent,
v.
Andrew T. Looper, Petitioner. Appellate Case No. 2015-001493

          Heard June 15, 2017

         ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS

         Appeal from Greenville County Letitia H. Verdin, Circuit Court Judge

          J. Falkner Wilkes and Steve W. Sumner, both of Greenville, for Petitioner.

          Attorney General Alan Wilson and Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Ellis Roberts, both of Columbia, for Respondent.

          KITTREDGE, JUSTICE.

         Petitioner Andrew T. Looper challenges the court of appeals' dismissal of his appeal from an interlocutory circuit court order. We affirm as modified, and in doing so clarify our rules regarding appealability.

         I.

         Petitioner was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) after being pulled over by a Greenville County Sheriff's Deputy for speeding. At a pretrial hearing before a magistrate, Petitioner moved to suppress evidence of field sobriety tests and breath analysis, arguing they were the fruits of an unconstitutionally prolonged traffic stop. The magistrate granted Petitioner's motion to suppress the evidence and dismissed the DUI charge.

         The State appealed to the circuit court.[1] The circuit court held the magistrate erred in granting Petitioner's motion and reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

         Thereafter, Petitioner appealed to the court of appeals, which analogized the circuit court's order to an interlocutory order denying a motion to suppress evidence. State v. Looper, 412 S.C. 363, 366, 772 S.E.2d 516, 517 (Ct. App. 2015). The court of appeals therefore dismissed the appeal, finding Petitioner was not "aggrieved" in a legal sense because he had not been convicted and sentenced. Id. at 365-66, 772 S.E.2d at 517.

         We issued a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision.

         II.

         Petitioner now argues the court of appeals erred by concluding that, because he had not been convicted below, he was not aggrieved and not entitled to appeal the circuit court's decision. We disagree, and we ...


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