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South Carolina Rule of Evidence: 501


Except as required by the Constitution of South Carolina, by the Constitution of the United States or by South Carolina statute, the privilege of a witness, person or government shall be governed by the principles of the common law as they may be interpreted by the courts in the light of reason and experience.


This rule modifies the federal rule to refer to the South Carolina Constitution and statutes. Like the federal rule, this rule does not set forth a list of privileges. Among those privileges which would be covered by this rule are: husband and wife (S.C. Code Ann. 19-11-30); priest and penitent (S.C. Code Ann. 19-11-90); certain mental health professionals and clients (S.C. Code Ann. 19-11-95); news media and sources (S.C. Code Ann. 19-11-100); attorney and client [Drayton v. Industrial Life & Health Ins. Co., 205 S.C. 98, 31 S.E.2d 148 (1944)]; privilege against self-incrimination (U.S. Const. amend. V; S.C. Const. art. I, 12; S.C. Code Ann. 19-11-80); and the identity of a confidential informant [State v. Hayward, 302 S.C. 75, 393 S.E.2d 918 (1990)].


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