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State v. Andrews

Supreme Court of South Carolina

June 19, 2019

The State, Petitioner,
v.
Jeffrey Dana Andrews, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2018-001765

          Submitted May 7, 2019

         ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS

          Appeal From Sumter County W. Jeffrey Young, Circuit Court Judge

          Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General Scott Matthews, both of Columbia, and Solicitor Ernest A. Finney, III, of Sumter, all for Petitioner.

          Chief Appellate Defender Robert Michael Dudek, of Columbia, for Respondent.

          PER CURIAM:

         The State of South Carolina has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking this Court to review the Court of Appeals' decision in State v. Andrews, 424 S.C. 304, 818 S.E.2d 227 (Ct. App. 2018). We grant the petition, dispense with further briefing, and affirm as modified.

         I.

         The facts in this case are fully and accurately set forth in the Court of Appeals' opinion. After a fatal shooting at Respondent's home, Respondent was indicted for murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Respondent moved to dismiss the charges pursuant to the Protection of Persons and Property Act[1] (the Act) on the ground he shot the victim in self-defense.

         During the pre-trial immunity hearing, Respondent claimed that, after an altercation and being threatened by the victim, Respondent shot the victim in the threshold of the front door as the victim attempted to reenter his home. Respondent's father corroborated Respondent's version of events. However, another eyewitness, the victim's girlfriend and Respondent's cousin, testified the victim was attempting to peacefully leave Respondent's home and that Respondent followed the victim out of the home, shooting him on the porch. Additional forensic evidence was presented at the hearing, but it did not conclusively support either version of events.

         At the conclusion of the immunity hearing, the circuit court rejected Respondent's argument. Relying on State v. Douglas, 411 S.C. 307, 768 S.E.2d 232 (Ct. App. 2014), the circuit court held:

The burden clearly is by the preponderance of the evidence. Not the normal criminal case law beyond a reasonable doubt. . . . The testimony in this case from the witnesses and from the defendant have been at least very inconsistent. The testimony has been conflicting as to what the different witnesses saw and what happened on the night in question. And therefore, I find that the defendant has not met [his] burden of proving to me by a preponderance of the evidence, and therefore a request for immunity is hereby denied.

         Ultimately, the Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court's denial of immunity, but reversed Respondent's convictions based on a separate evidentiary issue.

         While we agree with the result reached by the Court of Appeals, we granted the petition for a writ of certiorari to reiterate the impact of our recent decision in Statev. ...


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