Butler v. State, No. 22364

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtCHANDLER; LITTLEJOHN
Citation334 S.E.2d 813,286 S.C. 441
PartiesHorace BUTLER, Petitioner, v. STATE of South Carolina, Respondent. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 22364
Decision Date06 June 1985

Page 813

334 S.E.2d 813
286 S.C. 441
Horace BUTLER, Petitioner,
v.
STATE of South Carolina, Respondent.
No. 22364.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard June 6, 1985.
Decided Aug. 27, 1985.

Page 814

Dale T. Cobb, Jr., of Belk, Howard, Cobb & Chandler, Charleston Heights, and S.C. Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for petitioner.

Atty. Gen. T. Travis Medlock, Chief Deputy Atty. Gen. Donald J. Zelenka, Columbia, for respondent.

CHANDLER, Justice.

Petitioner Butler (Applicant) was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. We affirmed the conviction and penalty in State v. Butler, 277 S.C. 452, 290 S.E.2d 1 (1982), cert. den. 459 U.S. 932, 103 S.Ct. 242, 74 L.Ed.2d 191.

He thereafter filed an application for Post Conviction Relief (PCR), which was denied following an evidentiary [286 S.C. 442] hearing. We granted certiorari solely on the question of whether Applicant received effective assistance of counsel during the sentencing phase of his bifurcated trial. We hold that he did, and affirm.

The burden of proof is on the Applicant in post-conviction proceedings to prove the allegations in his application. Griffin v. Martin, 278 S.C. 620, 300 S.E.2d 482 (1983). Where allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel are made, the question becomes, "whether counsel's conduct so undermined the proper functioning of the adversarial process that the trial cannot be relied on as having produced a just result." Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, ----, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 2064, 80 L.Ed.2d 674, 692 (1984).

The resolution of this question involves the application of the two prong test in Strickland.

First, the defendant must show that counsel's performance was deficient. This requires showing that counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the 'counsel' guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Second, the defendant must show that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense. This requires showing that counsel's errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is reliable.

Strickland, 466 U.S. at ----, 104 S.Ct. at 2064, 80 L.Ed.2d at 693.

"[C]ounsel is strongly presumed to have rendered adequate assistance and made all significant decisions in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment." Strickland at ----, 104 S.Ct. at 2066, 80 L.Ed.2d at 695. The proper measure of counsel's performance remains whether he has provided representation within the range of competence required of attorneys in criminal cases. Strickland, supra; Turner v. Bass, 753 F.2d 342 (4th Cir.1985); Marzullo v. Maryland, 561 F.2d 540 (4th Cir.1977).

Applicant here alleges failure of his attorney to research, develop and present evidence in mitigation during the sentencing phase of his trial.

Specifically, counsel is charged with having failed (1) to investigate and contact witnesses who would testify as to [286 S.C. 443] Applicant's good character, (2) to present evidence showing Applicant's low mentality, and (3) to fully discuss the sentencing phase with Applicant so as to render meaningful.

I. WITNESSES

Applicant contends that counsel failed to discover and present...

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141 practice notes
  • Tucker v. Moore, No. Civ.A. 0:98-681-8BD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 15, 1999
    ...South Carolina Circuit Judge. At this hearing, Petitioner had the burden of proving the allegations in his petition. Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813, 814 (S.C.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 869, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986). Following this hearing, the PCR Court made r......
  • Butler v. Kellar, No. 88-6677
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1990
    ...74 L.Ed.2d 191 (1982). Subsequently, Butler unsuccessfully petitioned for collateral relief in the State's courts, see Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813 (1985), and we again denied certiorari. Butler v. South Carolina, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 869, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986). In May ......
  • Brown v. State, No. 4297.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 5, 2007
    ...allegations in his application. Rule 71.1(e), SCRCP; Von Dohlen v. State, 360 S.C. 598, 603, 602 S.E.2d 738, 741 (2004); Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813 (1985). "To establish a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, a PCR applicant has the burden of proving counsel'......
  • Thompson v. McFadden, C/A No. 5:15-cv-01568-TMC-KDW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 8, 2016
    ...produced a just result." Strickland v.Page 6 Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674, 692 (1984); Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813 (1985).The proper measure of performance is whether the attorney provided representation within the range of competence required ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
141 cases
  • Tucker v. Moore, No. Civ.A. 0:98-681-8BD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 15, 1999
    ...South Carolina Circuit Judge. At this hearing, Petitioner had the burden of proving the allegations in his petition. Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813, 814 (S.C.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 869, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986). Following this hearing, the PCR Court made r......
  • Butler v. Kellar, No. 88-6677
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1990
    ...74 L.Ed.2d 191 (1982). Subsequently, Butler unsuccessfully petitioned for collateral relief in the State's courts, see Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813 (1985), and we again denied certiorari. Butler v. South Carolina, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 869, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986). In May ......
  • Brown v. State, No. 4297.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 5, 2007
    ...allegations in his application. Rule 71.1(e), SCRCP; Von Dohlen v. State, 360 S.C. 598, 603, 602 S.E.2d 738, 741 (2004); Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813 (1985). "To establish a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, a PCR applicant has the burden of proving counsel'......
  • Thompson v. McFadden, C/A No. 5:15-cv-01568-TMC-KDW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 8, 2016
    ...produced a just result." Strickland v.Page 6 Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674, 692 (1984); Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813 (1985).The proper measure of performance is whether the attorney provided representation within the range of competence required ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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