1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Updated through the end of the 2005 Regular Session


This statutory database is current through the 2005 Regular Session of the South Carolina General Assembly. Changes to the statutes enacted by the 2006 General Assembly, which will convene in January 2006, will be incorporated as soon as possible. Some changes enacted by the 2006 General Assembly may take immediate effect. The State of South Carolina and the South Carolina Legislative Council make no warranty as to the accuracy of the data, or changes which may have been enacted since the 2005 Regular Session or which took effect after this database was prepared and users rely on the data entirely at their own risk.

Title 19 - Evidence


SECTION 19-1-10. Rules of construction.

The rule of common law, that statutes in derogation of that law are to be strictly construed, has no application to this Title.

SECTION 19-1-20. "Clerk" defined.

The word "clerk," as used in this Title, signifies unless the context otherwise indicates, the clerk of the court where the action is pending.

SECTION 19-1-30. Pleading shall not be evidence against accused.

No pleading can be used in a criminal prosecution against the defendant as a proof of a fact admitted or alleged in such pleading.

SECTION 19-1-40. Repealed by 1995 Act No. 104, Section 7, eff September 3, 1995.

SECTION 19-1-50. Repealed by 1995 Act No. 104, Section 7, eff September 3, 1995.

SECTION 19-1-60. Request for admission of authenticity of documents and other papers.

Either party to a civil action may exhibit to the other or to his attorney at any time before the trial any paper material to the action and request an admission of its genuineness in writing. If the adverse party or his attorney fail to give the admission within four days after the request, and if the party exhibiting the paper be afterwards put to expense in order to prove its genuineness and the same be finally proved or admitted on the trial, such expense shall be paid by the party refusing the admission, unless it appear to the satisfaction of the court that there was good reason for the refusal.

SECTION 19-1-70. Proof of negligence by plaintiff in certain motor vehicle cases.

The provisions of Chapter 5 of Title 56 declaring prima facie speed limitations shall not be construed to relieve the plaintiff in any civil action from the burden of proving negligence on the part of the defendant as the proximate cause of the accident.

SECTION 19-1-80. Conditions on examination of witness in criminal proceeding concerning written statement made to public employee.

No witness in any preliminary hearing or in any criminal judicial proceeding of any kind or nature shall be examined or cross-examined by any examiner, solicitor, lawyer or prosecuting officer concerning a written statement formerly made and given to any person employed by this State, or any county, city or municipality thereof, or any part of any such governing body, unless it first be shown that at the time of the making of the statement the witness was given an exact copy of the statement, and that before his examination or cross-examination the witness was given a copy of the statement and allowed a reasonable time in which to read it.

SECTION 19-1-90. Admissibility in criminal proceeding of written statement made to public employee.

Unless the provisions of Sections 8-15-50 and 19-1-80 have been complied with, no statement such as is referred to in those sections shall be admissible in evidence in any case, nor shall any reference be made to it in the trial of any case.

SECTION 19-1-100. No statement shall be used for impeachment in civil proceeding unless copy furnished when signed.

No statement taken from and signed by a witness or litigant after July 1, 1966 shall be used in any civil judicial proceeding for the purpose of contradicting, impeaching or attacking the credibility of such a witness or litigant, unless such party shall have been furnished a copy of said statement at the time of its signing.

SECTION 19-1-110. Introduction of certain instruments or copies thereof issued by common carriers.

It shall be competent (a) to introduce in evidence as prima facie evidence that the same is genuine any instrument purporting to be the original of any waybill, receipt, bill of lading or similar instrument issued by any common carrier or (b) to introduce in evidence a copy of any such instrument as prima facie evidence that the same is a true and correct copy if the adverse party shall fail, upon due notice given, to produce the original instrument.

SECTION 19-1-120. Proving signature of absent witness to bond or note; effect of sworn denial of signature.

The absence of a witness to any bond or note shall not be deemed a good cause by any court of justice for postponing a trial respecting the same, but the signature to such bond or note may be proved by other testimony, unless the defendant in his answer shall swear or affirm, according to the form of his religious profession, that the signature to the bond or note in suit is not his, or in case the defendant or defendants should be executors or administrators unless one of them shall swear or affirm, as aforesaid, in his answer that he has cause to believe the signature to such bond or note is not the testator's or intestate's, as the case may be.

SECTION 19-1-130. Situations in which notary's protest is sufficient evidence.

Whenever a notary public who may have made protest for nonpayment of any inland bill or promissory note shall be dead or shall reside out of the county in which the bill or note is sued his protest of such bill or note shall be received as sufficient evidence of notice in any action by any person whatsoever against any of the parties to such bill or note.

SECTION 19-1-140. Use of testimony in subsequent trials when witness is in armed forces.

In all civil causes pending in the courts of this State when a witness has testified and has been cross-examined or the right given the opposing side to cross-examine him his testimony so given may be read in all subsequent trials or hearings concerning the same cause when such witness is in the armed forces of our country.

SECTION 19-1-150. Life expectancy tables.

When necessary, in a civil action or other litigation, to establish the life expectancy of a person from any period in his life, whether he is living at the time or not, the table below must be received in all courts and by all persons having power to determine litigation as evidence, along with other evidence as to his health, constitution, and habits, of the life expectancy of the person. In determining the age of a person as of any particular time, periods of six months or more beyond the last full year must be treated as one year in using the table below.

Age Male Female

0 76.62 80.84

1 75.69 79.88

2 74.74 78.91

3 73.76 77.93

4 72.78 76.95

5 71.80 75.96

6 70.81 74.97

7 69.83 73.99

8 68.84 73.00

9 67.86 72.02

10 66.88 71.03

11 65.89 70.05

12 64.91 69.07

13 63.93 68.08

14 62.95 67.10

15 61.98 66.13

16 61.02 65.15

17 60.07 64.17

18 59.12 63.20

19 58.17 62.23

20 57.23 61.26

21 56.29 60.28

22 55.34 59.31

23 54.40 58.34

24 53.45 57.37

25 52.51 56.40

26 51.57 55.43

27 50.62 54.46

28 49.68 53.49

29 48.74 52.53

30 47.79 51.56

31 46.85 50.60

32 45.90 49.63

33 44.95 48.67

34 44.00 47.71

35 43.05 46.75

36 42.11 45.80

37 41.16 44.84

38 40.21 43.89

39 39.27 42.94

40 38.33 42.00

41 37.39 41.05

42 36.46 40.11

43 35.53 39.17

44 34.61 38.23

45 33.69 37.29

46 32.78 36.36

47 31.87 35.43

48 30.97 34.51

49 30.07 33.60

50 29.18 32.69

51 28.28 31.79

52 27.40 30.90

53 26.52 30.01

54 25.65 29.14

55 24.79 28.27

56 23.94 27.41

57 23.10 26.57

58 22.27 25.73

59 21.45 24.90

60 20.64 24.08

61 19.85 23.27

62 19.06 22.47

63 18.29 21.68

64 17.54 20.90

65 16.80 20.12

66 16.08 19.36

67 15.37 18.60

68 14.68 17.86

69 13.99 17.12

70 13.32 16.40

71 12.66 15.69

72 12.01 14.99

73 11.39 14.31

74 10.78 13.64

75 10.18 12.98

76 9.61 12.34

77 9.05 11.71

78 8.50 11.10

79 7.98 10.50

80 7.49 9.92

81 7.01 9.35

82 6.57 8.81

83 6.14 8.29

84 5.74 7.79

85 5.36 7.32

86 5.00 6.87

87 4.66 6.43

88 4.35 6.02

89 4.07 5.64

90 3.81 5.29

91 3.57 4.96

92 3.35 4.61

93 3.15 4.26

94 2.96 3.93

95 2.78 3.63

96 2.62 3.38

97 2.47 3.18

98 2.32 3.02

99 2.19 2.82

100 2.07 2.61

101 1.96 2.42

102 1.86 2.23

103 1.76 2.06

104 1.66 1.89

105 1.57 1.74

106 1.48 1.60

107 1.39 1.47

108 1.30 1.36

109 1.22 1.25

110 1.14 1.16

111 1.07 1.08

112 0.99 1.00

113 0.92 0.93

114 0.85 0.86

115 0.79 0.79

116 0.72 0.73

117 0.66 0.67

118 0.61 0.61

119 0.55 0.56

120 0.50 0.50

SECTION 19-1-160. Non-sealed instruments may be considered as sealed.

Whenever it shall appear from the attestation clause or from any other part of any instrument in writing that it was the intention of the party or parties thereto that such instrument should be a sealed instrument then such instrument shall be construed to be, and shall have the effect of, a sealed instrument although no seal be actually attached thereto.

SECTION 19-1-180. Out-of-court statements by certain children.

(A) An out-of-court statement made by a child who is under twelve years of age or who functions cognitively, adaptively, or developmentally under the age of twelve at the time of a family court proceeding brought pursuant to Title 20 concerning an act of alleged abuse or neglect as defined by Section 20-7-490 is admissible in the family court proceeding if the requirements of this section are met regardless of whether the statement would be otherwise inadmissible.

(B) An out-of-court statement may be admitted as provided in subsection (A) if:

(1) the child testifies at the proceeding or testifies by means of videotaped deposition or closed-circuit television, and at the time of the testimony the child is subject to cross-examination about the statement; or

(2)(a) the child is found by the court to be unavailable to testify on any of these grounds:

(i) the child's death;

(ii) the child's physical or mental disability;

(iii) the existence of a privilege involving the child;

(iv) the child's incompetency, including the child's inability to communicate about the offense because of fear;

(v) substantial likelihood that the child would suffer severe emotional trauma from testifying at the proceeding or by means of videotaped deposition or closed-circuit television; and

(b) the child's out-of-court statement is shown to possess particularized guarantees of trustworthiness.

(C) The proponent of the statement shall inform the adverse party of the proponent's intention to offer the statement and the content of the statement sufficiently in advance of the proceeding to provide the defendant with a fair opportunity to prepare a response to the statement before the proceeding at which it is offered. If the child is twelve years of age or older, the adverse party may challenge the professional decision that the child functions cognitively, adaptively, or developmentally under the age of twelve.

(D) In determining whether a statement possesses particularized guarantees of trustworthiness under subsection (B)(2)(b), the court may consider, but is not limited to, the following factors:

(1) the child's personal knowledge of the event;

(2) the age and maturity of the child;

(3) certainty that the statement was made, including the credibility of the person testifying about the statement;

(4) any apparent motive the child may have to falsify or distort the event, including bias, corruption, or coercion;

(5) whether more than one person heard the statement;

(6) whether the child was suffering pain or distress when making the statement;

(7) the nature and duration of any alleged abuse;

(8) whether the child's young age makes it unlikely that the child fabricated a statement that represents a graphic, detailed account beyond the child's knowledge and experience;

(9) whether the statement has a ring of verity, has internal consistency or coherence, and uses terminology appropriate to the child's age;

(10) whether extrinsic evidence exists to show the defendant's opportunity to commit the act complained of in the child's statement.

(E) The court shall support with findings on the record any rulings pertaining to the child's unavailability and the trustworthiness of the out-of-court statement.

(F) Any hearsay testimony admissible under this section shall not be admissible in any other proceeding.

(G) If the parents of the child are separated or divorced, the hearsay statement shall be inadmissible if (1) one of the parents is the alleged perpetrator of the alleged abuse or neglect and (2) the allegation was made after the parties separated or divorced. Notwithstanding this subsection, a statement alleging abuse or neglect made by a child to a law enforcement official, an officer of the court, a licensed family counselor or therapist, a physician or other health care provider, a teacher, a school counselor, a Department of Social Services staff member, or to a child care worker in a regulated child care facility is admissible under this section.

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