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It does not constitute an offense to intend to manufacture liquor. No person can lawfully be convicted of an offense merely because he intended to commit it, but did nothing in execution of such intention.
County police officers found two stills on property owned by defendant Quick. Neither were in operation at the time, but one contained mash and the other appeared to have been recently operated. The officers waited in their car on a road near the stills until they saw defendant's approaching car occupied by defendant, two other men, and two children. The car contained several pounds of sugar, a sack of mill feed, and three cases of yeast cakes. The officers arrested defendant and the two other men. Defendant was convicted of the unlawful manufacture of intoxicating liquor under S.C. Code Ann. § 1829 (1932), as amended. Defendant challenged his convictions.
Was the defendant’s conviction of the unlawful manufacture of intoxicating liquor proper?
The court reversed defendant's conviction with direction to the trial court to enter a verdict of not guilty. The court held that the trial court erred in refusing to direct a verdict of acquittal because the evidence showed only an act which was preparatory to the commission of the charged crime. The court further held that the trial court erred in charging the jury that if defendant and his companions went to the still's location for the common enterprise of doing anything for the manufacture of whiskey, then they would all be guilty if any one of them was guilty because mere intent to manufacture liquor was not an offense.