Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Kimbrell case brief

State v. Kimbrell case brief summary
362 S.E.2d 630 (1987)

Defendant challenged the judgment of the trial court (South Carolina), which convicted her of trafficking in cocaine. The trial court denied defendant's motion for a directed verdict. The trial court admitted into evidence a pistol that police found in defendant's purse.

An undercover officer purchased cocaine from defendant's husband. While the husband and the officer went outside, defendant waited in the kitchen near the drugs at the husband's instruction. When they returned, defendant returned to a bedroom and was found there with a pistol in her purse during the drug bust.


  • On appeal, the court held that from the evidence it could be inferred that defendant had both the power and intent to control the cocaine during the time her husband and the officer were outside the home. 
  • The court noted that the State produced evidence that defendant had actual knowledge of the presence of the cocaine. 
  • The court found that the pistol seized by police from defendant's purse was covered by the plain view exception. 
  • Further, the court ruled that the jury could have inferred that defendant was using the pistol for protection of the cocaine. 
  • The court decided that defendant's request to charge the jury with the instruction that mere presence, where the drugs were present, was not sufficient to convict, without more was a correct statement of the law. 
  • The court concluded that the trial court's charge did not adequately cover the substance of defendant's request.

The court reversed defendant's conviction for trafficking in cocaine and remanded the cause.

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