Robinson v. State

Decision Date12 January 1998
Docket NumberNo. 24741,24741
Citation329 S.C. 65,495 S.E.2d 433
PartiesNoah ROBINSON, Respondent, v. STATE of South Carolina, Petitioner.
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

Chief Attorney Daniel T. Stacey, of South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia; and John M. Rollins, Jr., Greer, for Respondent.

TOAL, Justice:

The Post Conviction Relief ("PCR") court granted Respondent Noah Robinson credit for time served while in federal prison; this credit was calculated from the date of the affirmance of Robinson's state court conviction. We reverse.


In 1988, Robinson was indicted for murder, criminal conspiracy to commit murder, and accessory before the fact of assault and battery with intent to kill. In January 1989, Robinson was tried on these charges and found guilty of accessory after the fact of a felony. The trial court declared a mistrial on Robinson's other charges because of the failure of the jury to return a verdict. Robinson was sentenced to ten years confinement.

Robinson filed a notice of intent to appeal and posted an appeal bond. While out on appeal bond, he returned to Chicago. Later in 1989, Robinson was charged in federal court with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ("RICO") laws. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to six years in prison. In August 1992, Robinson was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on additional criminal charges relating to his involvement with the Chicago-based El Rukn street gang. The federal sentences were to run concurrently with Robinson's state sentence. We affirmed Robinson's state conviction in September 1991, which was during the interim between his federal court convictions. State v. Robinson, 305 S.C. 469, 409 S.E.2d 404 (1991), cert. denied, 503 U.S. 937, 112 S.Ct. 1477, 117 L.Ed.2d 620 (1992).

In November 1992, Robinson filed a PCR application in which he sought to obtain credit in South Carolina for time served in federal custody from the date we affirmed his conviction. Robinson had been exclusively in federal custody from the date of his arrest in 1989 for RICO violations until January 18, 1995, when he was admitted to, but deemed absent with leave from, the South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDOC"). After an evidentiary hearing, the PCR court issued an order of dismissal denying all of Robinson's claims. Robinson filed a Rule 59(e) Motion to Reconsider the Order of Dismissal. After another hearing, 1 the court amended its order of dismissal, affirming the prior order, but modifying it to the extent of granting Robinson credit for time served from the date we affirmed Robinson's state court conviction.

The State petitioned for a writ of certiorari, which we granted to review whether Robinson "commenced" the service of his South Carolina sentence when his conviction was affirmed.


The credit for time served statute provides in pertinent part:

The computation of the time served by prisoners under sentences imposed by the courts of this State shall be reckoned from the date of the imposition of the sentence. But when (a) a prisoner shall have given notice of intention to appeal, (b) the commencement of the service of the sentence follows the revocation of probation or (c) the court shall have designated a specific time for the commencement of the service of the sentence, the computation of the time served shall be reckoned from the date of the commencement of the service of the sentence.

S.C.Code Ann. § 24-13-40 (1989) (emphasis added). Here, we must determine when Robinson commenced the service of his sentence. The State argues that the PCR court erred by finding that Robinson commenced his sentence on the date his conviction was affirmed. We agree. We hold that for purposes of calculating credit for time served, persons released on appeal bond commence service of their sentences when they submit to the custody of the SCDOC, and not upon affirmance of their convictions.

In Maxey v. Manning, 224 S.C. 320, 78 S.E.2d 633 (1953), the habeas corpus petitioner was convicted of burglary and assault and battery with intent to kill. The petitioner was freed on appeal bond pending disposition of his appeal by this Court. His convictions were affirmed on October 30, 1950, and he was committed to the state penitentiary on November 15, 1950. In interpreting the applicable statute, 2 we noted that "service of the sentences, which was stayed by the appeal ..., is reckoned from the date of the commencement of the service of the sentences, which in this case was November 15, 1950." Maxey, 224 S.C. at 330, 78 S.E.2d at 637. Therefore, Maxey did not begin service of his sentence until sixteen days after his conviction was affirmed--until he submitted to the custody of the state penitentiary. There is no reason to interpret the statute differently when the defendant seeks credit on his South Carolina sentence for time served in the custody of another sovereignty. 3

The law governing the imposition of concurrent sentences requires elaboration inasmuch as it is critical to the determination of when Robinson "commenced" the service of his sentence. South Carolina is "without authority to modify or place conditions on a sentence from a foreign jurisdiction." Clark v. State, 321 S.C. 377, 380, 468 S.E.2d 653, 655 (1996). Correspondingly, a foreign jurisdiction is without authority to modify or place conditions on a sentence imposed in South Carolina. Therefore, if a second jurisdiction imposes on a convict a sentence to run concurrently with the previously imposed sentence from another jurisdiction, it is the responsibility of the second jurisdiction to effectuate its concurrent sentence and thus ensure the convict receives credit for time served in both jurisdictions. 4 To achieve this result, the second jurisdiction must transfer custody of the convict to the first jurisdiction.

In Clark v. State, 321 S.C. 377, 468 S.E.2d 653, South Carolina failed to transport Clark to federal custody to effectuate South Carolina's imposition of a concurrent sentence. Clark pled guilty in federal court to possession of a sawed off shotgun. The judge sentenced him to ten years confinement. Subsequently, Clark pled guilty to several offenses in state court. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the judge ordered that the sentences run concurrently with Clark's previously imposed federal sentence. However, instead of being transported to federal custody, Clark remained in state prison. Clark then filed a PCR petition claiming that his plea bargain was not being enforced. We noted that "[t]he sentence of a person convicted of a federal offense commences to run from the date on which such person is received at the penitentiary." Clark, 321 S.C. at 379, 468 S.E.2d at 655; see 18 U.S.C. § 3585(a) (1994) ("A sentence to a term of imprisonment commences on the date the defendant is received in custody...."). As a result, we concluded that "the only way to effectuate a state trial court's order that a state sentence run concurrently with a prior federal sentence is to have the defendant returned to federal custody to serve his federal sentence." Clark, 321 S.C. at 380, 468 S.E.2d at 655. Because Clark had not been transferred to federal custody, he failed to receive credit against his federal sentence for the time he served in South Carolina custody.

In State v. Furman, 288 S.C. 243, 341 S.E.2d 795 (1986), the Georgia court neither transported Furman to South Carolina nor specified that its sentence was to be concurrent with the previously imposed South Carolina sentence. Furman was convicted in South Carolina for voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to...

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2 cases
  • Delahoussaye v. State
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • July 17, 2006
    ...served simply because the SCDOC has issued a detainer. The PCR court, however, found that this Court's decision in Robinson v. State, 329 S.C. 65, 495 S.E.2d 433 (1998), clearly stated that a South Carolina convict may receive credit for the time that he is incarcerated in another jurisdict......
  • Braxton v. S.C. Dep't of Corr.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • July 1, 2020
    ...jurisdiction is without authority to modify or place conditions on a sentence imposed in South Carolina." Robinson v. State , 329 S.C. 65, 69, 495 S.E.2d 433, 435 (1998). "Therefore, if a second jurisdiction imposes on a [prisoner] a sentence to run concurrently with the previously imposed ......
2 books & journal articles
  • The untouchables: the impact of South Carolina's new judicial selection system on the South Carolina Supreme Court, 1997-2003.
    • United States
    • Albany Law Review Vol. 67 No. 3, March 2004
    • March 22, 2004
    ...v. Boone, 546 S.E.2d 191 (S.C. 2001). Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal Lester v. Dawson, 491 S.E.2d 240 (S.C. 1997). Robinson v. State, 495 S.E.2d 433 (S.C. State v. Kennerly, 524 S.E.2d 837 (S.C. 1999). Franklin v. Catoe, 552 S.E.2d 718 (S.C. 2001). Justice Costa M. Pleicones Myrtle Beach Ho......
  • Bill Clinton's parting pardon party.
    • United States
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Vol. 100 No. 3, June 2010
    • June 22, 2010
    ...WIKIPEDIA, Peter_MacDonald_(Navajo leader) (last visited Sept. 14, 2010). (122) See Robinson v. State, 495 S.E.2d 433 (S.C. 1998); Michael Abramowitz, Noah Robinson, In the Shadow of the Rainbow; Jesse Jackson's Half Brother in Jail for Murder, WASH. POST, July......

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