South Carolina v. Harrison

Appellant Andrew Lee Harrison contended on appeal that the trial court erred in refusing to find that the penalty portion of section 56-5-1210 violated the Eighth Amendment. In 2009, appellant was traveling along the highway in the same direction as victim Gary Tims and Daniel Gantt. The victim and Gantt were both riding motorcycles. Gantt rode approximately one "bike length" behind the Victim. Appellant entered the highway, but instead of utilizing the right lane, pulled his vehicle into the left lane. The victim lost temporary control of his motorcycle and shifted to the right lane to avoid appellant's vehicle. However, Appellant simultaneously switched to the right lane and the victim struck the rear of appellant's truck. The victim's motorcycle "flipped over" and landed in the highway. Appellant did not stop, but continued driving. Gantt followed appellant until appellant pulled over approximately one-half mile from the accident. Gantt informed appellant that the victim was "laying [sic] down in the highway," and that Gantt did not know whether the victim was "dead or alive." Appellant inspected the damage to the truck and stated that he did not possess a valid driver's license, because his driver's license had been suspended. Appellant agreed to return to the scene of the accident. However, once Gantt departed to return to the scene, appellant travelled in the opposite direction. He was ultimately charged with driving under suspension and leaving the scene with death, a violation of section 56-5-1210. The trial court sentenced Appellant to twenty years' imprisonment for leaving the scene with death, and a concurrent sentence of six months' imprisonment for driving under suspension. "When the proportionality principle jurisprudence is applied to section 56-51210 it is not evident that its repugnance to the constitution is clear beyond a reasonable doubt." The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's conclusion that section 56-5-1210 of the South Carolina Code was constitutional. View "South Carolina v. Harrison" on Justia Law