South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
Edgar A. Brown building 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 224 Columbia, SC 29201 Voice: (803) 734-0550

SC Administrative Law Court Decisions


South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

Roy E. Cantrell

For the Petitioner:
C. Dale Scott, Esquire

For the Respondent:
David G. Pagliarini, Esquire




This matter is before the Administrative Law Court (“ALC”) for a final order and decision following a contested case hearing pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-130(C) (Supp. 2006), S.C. Code Ann. §§ 1-23-310 et seq. (2005), and S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(B) (Supp. 2006). The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (“SLED”) sent a Notice of Intent to revoke the Respondent’s private investigation license based on his being charged with a felony. The Respondent, Roy E. Cantrell (“Cantrell”), requested a contested case hearing. After timely notice to the parties, the court held a hearing on November 28, 2007. All parties appeared at the hearing. Evidence was introduced and testimony presented. After carefully weighing all the evidence, this court finds that Cantrell’s license should be suspended[1] during the pendency of the criminal proceeding regarding the felony charge.


Having observed the witnesses and exhibits presented at the hearing and closely passed upon their credibility, and taking into consideration the burden of persuasion by the parties, the court makes the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of the evidence.

On May 22, 2007, an arrest warrant was issued for Cantrell on the charge of “Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct.” S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-656 (2003). The arrest warrant was based on the affidavit of Investigator Maggie Carver of the Goose Creek Police Department and her ongoing investigation regarding an alleged incident involving Cantrell and a seventeen-year-old female. The evidence presented at the hearing as supporting both the criminal charges and SLED’s proposed suspension all stems from the word of the victim and her version of events. At the time of the alleged incident, Cantrell was serving as the victim’s guardian ad litem. Cantrell was arrested, and on November 14, 2007, Cantrell was indicted by the grand jury for assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct (“ACSC”), and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (“ABHAN”).[2]


Based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact, the court concludes the following as a matter of law.

1. Jurisdiction and Review

Jurisdiction over this case is vested with the South Carolina Administrative Law Court pursuant to § 40-18-130(C), §§ 1-23-310 et seq., and § 1-23-600(B). The weight and credibility assigned to evidence presented at the hearing of a matter is within the province of the trier of fact. See S.C. Cable Television Ass’n v. S. Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 308 S.C. 216, 222, 417 S.E.2d 586, 589 (1992). Furthermore, a trial judge who observes a witness is in the best position to judge the witness’s demeanor and veracity and to evaluate the credibility of his testimony. See, e.g., Woodall v. Woodall, 322 S.C. 7, 10, 471 S.E.2d 154, 157 (1996); Wallace v. Milliken & Co., 300 S.C. 553, 556, 389 S.E.2d 448, 450 (Ct. App. 1990).

In presiding over this contested case, the court serves as the finder of fact and makes a de novo determination regarding the licensing matters at issue. See S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(B); Marlboro Park Hosp. v. S.C. Dep’t of Health & Envtl. Control, 358 S.C. 573, 577-79, 595 S.E.2d 851, 853-54 (Ct. App. 2004); Brown v. S.C. Dep’t of Health & Envtl. Control, 348 S.C. 507, 512, 560 S.E.2d 410, 413 (2002).

2. Private Investigation License Requirements

SLED has the authority to suspend or revoke a private investigation license where the registered individual has “been charged with a crime which would, upon conviction, disqualify the person for licensing or registration.” S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-130(A) (Supp. 2006). This authority is discretionary. See id. (“SLED may deny, suspend, revoke . . . a license . . . .” (emphasis added)).

An individual is disqualified from licensing or registration when that individual has been convicted of a felony. See S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-70(E) (Supp. 2006) (“SLED may issue a license to a person who . . . has not been convicted of a felony . . . .” (emphasis added)). Section 16-3-656 provides that “[a]ssault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct . . . shall be punishable as if the criminal sexual conduct was committed.” All three degrees of criminal sexual conduct are felonies. See S.C. Code Ann. §§ 16-3-652 to -654 (2003). Therefore, if Cantrell were convicted of the charge of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, he would be punished as if he had committed the criminal sexual conduct – which is a felony in this state. SLED would then be required by statute to revoke his license.

3. Conclusions

The court finds that Cantrell’s private investigation license should be suspended during the pendency of his criminal proceeding. Cantrell does not dispute that he has been arrested and charged with ACSC. Nor is it disputed that the charge is considered a felony in this state. Suspension or revocation of a private investigation license for being charged with a felony is authorized by statute. See S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-130.

The crime with which Cantrell is charged is a serious one. In addition, the alleged incident involving Cantrell and the victim took place while Cantrell was acting as the victim’s guardian ad litem. Cantrell’s felony charge of ACSC while vested with the duty of acting in the best interests of the victim – the very individual whom he was appointed to protect – casts doubt upon his intentions and the position of trust he held as a guardian ad litem. Although at this time the charges appear to be supported by the victim’s story alone, the court finds, despite Cantrell’s suggestion otherwise, that this fact does not necessarily tend to show that Cantrell is unlikely to be convicted and that suspension is therefore unwarranted in this case. See S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-657 (“The testimony of the victim need not be corroborated in prosecutions under §§ 16-3-652 through 16-3-658.”).

Furthermore, SLED demonstrated at the contested case hearing that Cantrell has previously been found culpable of wrongdoing in his capacity as a private investigator. See Cantrell v. S.C. Law Enforcement Div., 04-ALJ-20-0050-CC, 2005 WL 828022, at *3 (S.C. Admin. Law Ct., Oct. 11, 2007) (finding in a case where Cantrell failed to obtain a written contract with his client in violation of a state statute that “[t]here is substantial evidence in the record that [Cantrell] not only refused to admit his errors, but that he tried to conceal them.”); see also Rule 405(b), SCRE (“In cases in which character . . . of a person is an essential element of a charge . . . . proof may also be made of specific instances of that person’s conduct.”); Danny R. Collins, South Carolina Evidence 280 (2d ed., SC Bar 2000) (“Character is also in issue in proceedings to obtain or revoke many licenses or permits, which usually occurs in administrative cases.”). In light of all of these facts taken together, the court finds suspension to be appropriate.


Based upon the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law stated above, it is

ORDERED that SLED’s decision to suspend Cantrell’s private investigation license during the pendency of his criminal case pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-130(C) is upheld. It is further

ORDERED that SLED shall reinstate Cantrell’s private investigation license within five days of the disposition of Cantrell’s criminal case if such proceeding does not result in a conviction of a felony.




Administrative Law Judge

December 12, 2007

Columbia, South Carolina

[1] Although the documents filed with the court indicate SLED’s intention to seek revocation of Cantrell’s license, counsel for both parties agreed at the hearing that a suspension during the pendency of Cantrell’s criminal trial was more appropriate. SLED further indicated that should disposition of the criminal case result in dismissal of the charges or an acquittal, then SLED would reinstate Cantrell’s license. Accordingly, the court will consider SLED’s proposed action to be suspension under those terms, rather than a full revocation of Cantrell’s private investigation license.

[2] Only the charge of ACSC was listed in SLED’s Notice of Intent to revoke, and it was the only charge at issue at the hearing. ABHAN is a lesser-included offense of ACSC. See State v. Whitten, 375 S.C. 43, 46, 649 S.E.2d 505, 507 (Ct. App. 2007).


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