Tagged: Post Conviction Relief (PCR)

Mangal v. State – What are the Takeaways?

In Mangal v. State, our Supreme Court allowed a conviction for first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor to stand in the face of a disturbing combination of ineffective assistance of trial and post-conviction relief (PCR) counsel.  Mangal’s trial counsel failed to object to expert testimony that improperly bolstered the testimony of the child, and […]

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It Should Be Hard for the Prosecution to Convict Someone of Attempted Murder

In State v. King, our Supreme Court rejected prosecutors’ contention that attempted murder is a general intent, rather than a specific intent crime.  This holding, predictably, resulted from our Court’s review of its precedent and the legislative history of the Sentencing Reform Act of 2010. Prosecutors attempted to equate attempted murder to the common law offense […]

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Lawyers Must Communicate Guilty Plea Offers to Clients

On November 5, 2014, the South Carolina Court of Appeals decided Bell v. State (Opinion No. 5277), holding that Bell’s lawyer was ineffective for not telling him about a guilty plea offer.  In his post-conviction relief (PCR) hearing, Bell testified that he would have pleaded guilty and not have taken a jury to trial, had […]

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Who Decides Whether the Jurors Consider the Lesser-Included Offenses: Trial Judge or Defendant?

On March 19, 2014, the South Carolina Court of Appeals decided Abney v. State, holding trial counsel employed a legitimate trial strategy by not requesting the trial court judge instruct the jurors about the lesser-included offense.  The all-or-nothing approach failed, and the jurors convicted Abney of armed robbery without ever having the opportunity to consider […]

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Enforcing Guilty Plea Agreements

On February 5, 2014, the South Carolina Court of Appeals decided Smith v. State, holding that trial counsel was ineffective for not objecting when the prosecutor failed to honor the plea agreement. Smith, originally charged with murder, pleaded guilty to the lesser-included offense of voluntary manslaughter.  Under the plea agreement, the Solicitor was not supposed […]

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Involuntary Manslaughter: Can an Intentional Act be an Unintentional Homicide?

On January 29, 2014, the South Carolina Court of Appeals decided Sullivan v. State, holding, “Because there was no evidence Sullivan fired a gun unintentionally, he was not entitled to a jury charge on involuntary manslaughter.”  Sullivan, in a post-conviction relief (PCR) action, alleged his trial counsel was ineffective for not requesting a full and […]

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Supreme Court Watch: 2013 Year in Review

2013 was a major year in criminal law for the South Carolina Supreme Court. Interviews in Child Sexual Abuse Cases – In January 2013, our Supreme Court decided State v. Kromah, hopefully putting to rest prosecution attempts to improperly bolster child witnesses in criminal sexual conduct cases.  Kromah is the most recent of numerous cases […]

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Taylor v. State: Tread Carefully When Facing Charges in Multiple Counties

On June 19, 2013, the South Carolina Supreme decided the Post Conviction Relief (PCR) case of Taylor v. State and, in the process, approved a life without parole (LWOP) sentence for a man who would have been better served to resolve all of his charges in multiple counties at the same time. Taylor had charges […]

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