Al-Shabazz v. State, 24995.

Citation338 S.C. 354,527 S.E.2d 742
Decision Date23 August 1999
Docket NumberNo. 24995.,24995.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
PartiesMalik Abdul AL-SHABAZZ, Petitioner, v. STATE of South Carolina, Respondent.

Assistant Appellate Defender Robert M. Pachak, of the South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for petitioner.

Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Teresa A. Knox, all of Columbia, for respondent.

General Counsel Richard P. Stroker and Deputy General Counsel William Ansel Collins, Jr., both of South Carolina Department of Corrections, Columbia, for intervenor.

WALLER, Justice:

Malik Abdul Al-Shabazz (petitioner) filed a post-conviction relief (PCR) application in September 1995. A circuit judge summarily dismissed the application without an evidentiary hearing. Petitioner appealed. After issuing our original opinion in which we vacated and remanded this matter for further proceedings, Al-Shabazz v. State, Op. No. 24995 (S.C.Sup.Ct. filed August 23, 1999) (Shearouse Adv.Sh. No. 28 at 31), we granted respondent's petition for rehearing. We simultaneously granted a motion to intervene by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (Department). After hearing oral arguments in this matter, we now withdraw our original opinion and issue this opinion. We vacate and remand for further proceedings.

FACTS

Petitioner is serving prison sentences totaling eighty-three years. In his PCR application, petitioner challenged the decision of an Adjustment Committee (Committee)1 of Department to take away a portion of the credits he had accrued for good conduct (good-time credits). In addition, petitioner alleged the Committee had unlawfully found him guilty of violating institutional rules and illegally placed him in solitary confinement. He alleged that Department and the Committee had violated his constitutional rights to procedural due process and equal protection in several ways, such as refusing to let him call his own witnesses or provide him with a competent inmate representative.

Petitioner alleged those deficiencies in the process nullified any forms he signed admitting to violations of prison rules. He claimed the deficiencies not only violated constitutional safeguards, but also deviated from Department's own policies and procedures on Committee hearings. He sought court-appointed counsel to assist him in preparing his PCR case.

The State asked the PCR judge to dismiss the application pursuant to Tutt v. State, 277 S.C. 525, 290 S.E.2d 414 (1982) (PCR Act may be invoked only by someone claiming right to have sentence vacated, set aside, or corrected; the Act does not give a court authority to consider allegations that an inmate's constitutional rights were violated when prison authorities transferred him within the prison system and downgraded his custody status). The PCR judge summarily dismissed the case, citing Tutt v. State.

We granted the petition for a writ of certiorari to answer the following procedural question:

May petitioner raise claims regarding good-time credits and solitary confinement in a PCR action and, if not, how must he raise such claims in order to obtain review?

In resolving petitioner's case, we substantially modify the process by which PCR applicants and inmates2 raise certain types of claims. First, we will explain the claims and basic procedures available in collateral attacks on a conviction or sentence in a PCR proceeding. Second, we will explain how inmates may seek review of claims involving non-collateral matters, i.e., administrative matters that are not cognizable in a PCR proceeding. Finally, we will apply our reasoning to the facts of petitioner's case.

DISCUSSION
A. COLLATERAL ATTACKS ON A CONVICTION OR SENTENCE

Post-conviction relief processes created by the states are the result of the United States Supreme Court's determination that the Fourteenth Amendment may require the states to afford state prisoners some adequate corrective process for the hearing and determination of claims of violation of federal constitutional guarantees. See Case v. Nebraska, 381 U.S. 336, 85 S.Ct. 1486, 14 L.Ed.2d 422 (1965)

(after Court granted certiorari to determine this question, the judgment in Case was vacated and remanded to be heard in light of new statute providing a post-conviction relief procedure). South Carolina adopted its version of the Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act in 1969. S.C.Code Ann. §§ 17-27-10 to -160 (1985 & Supp.1999) (PCR Act).

The courts, the state Office of the Attorney General, the state Office of Appellate Defense, private attorneys, prison officials, and many inmates have grown familiar with a welldefined process developed under the PCR Act during the past thirty years.

The applicant submits his claims on a standard PCR application, initiating a civil action governed by the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where he was convicted. S.C.Code Ann. §§ 17-27-40, -50 and -80 (1985); Rule 71.1, SCRCP; Appendix of Forms, SCRCP, Form 5. The applicant must raise all available grounds for relief in his first application because successive applications usually are barred. S.C.Code Ann. § 17-27-90 (1985); Aice v. State, 305 S.C. 448, 409 S.E.2d 392 (1991).

The applicant may not bring a PCR action while a direct appeal is pending. Rule 71.1(b), SCRCP. In a direct appeal, the focus generally is upon the propriety of rulings made by the circuit court in response to a party's motions or objections. In PCR, the focus usually is upon alleged errors made by trial or plea counsel. Therefore, when asserting the erroneous admission of evidence, a violation of a constitutional right, or other errors in a proceeding, the applicant generally must frame the issue as one of ineffective assistance of counsel. Drayton v. Evatt, 312 S.C. 4, 9, 430 S.E.2d 517, 520 (1993) (holding issues that could have been raised at trial or in direct appeal cannot be asserted in PCR application absent a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel); Hyman v. State, 278 S.C. 501, 299 S.E.2d 330 (1983) (same); Richardson v. State, 310 S.C. 360, 363, 426 S.E.2d 795, 797 (1993) (explaining that defendant who pleads guilty upon advice of counsel may only attack the voluntary and intelligent character of plea by showing that advice he received from counsel was not within range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases). The applicant attempts to show that his or her attorney erred in a manner that a reasonably proficient attorney would not, and that the error prejudiced his case. See cases collected in 8 West's South Carolina Digest, Criminal Law, Key No. 998.

The State must respond by answer or motion to the application. S.C.Code Ann. § 17-27-70(a) (1985). The State may move for summary dismissal of the application, but the court must not grant that motion without first giving the applicant a chance to reply to the proposed dismissal. Furthermore, summary dismissal without a hearing is appropriate only when (1) it is apparent on the face of the application that there is no need for a hearing to develop any facts and (2) the applicant is not entitled to relief. S.C.Code Ann. § 17-27-70(b) and (c) (1985).

When considering the State's motion for summary dismissal of an application, a judge must assume facts presented by an applicant are true and view those facts in the light most favorable to the applicant. Cf. Stiles v. Onorato, 318 S.C. 297, 457 S.E.2d 601 (1995)

(ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP, motion to dismiss must be based solely upon the allegations set forth on the face of the complaint, and the motion may not be sustained if facts alleged and inferences reasonably deducible therefrom would entitle plaintiff to any relief on any theory of the case).

An indigent applicant who is granted a hearing has a statutory right to be represented by a court-appointed attorney. S.C.Code Ann. § 17-27-60 (1985); Whitehead v. State, 310 S.C. 532, 426 S.E.2d 315 (1992); Rule 71.1(d), SCRCP. After a hearing, the PCR court grants or denies relief by issuing a written order containing findings of fact and conclusions of law. S.C.Code Ann. § 17-27-80 (1985). Either party must timely file a Rule 59(e), SCRCP, motion to preserve for review any issues not ruled upon by the court in its order. Pruitt v. State, 310 S.C. 254, 423 S.E.2d 127 (1992) (issue must be raised to and ruled on by the PCR judge in order to be preserved for review); Plyler v. State, 309 S.C. 408, 424 S.E.2d 477 (1992) (same).

A final judgment in a PCR action must be timely appealed, and it is filed in the Supreme Court as a petition for a writ of certiorari. S.C.Code Ann. § 17-27-100 (1985); Rule 71.1(f), SCRCP; Rule 227, SCACR. An indigent applicant has a right to be represented on appeal by court-appointed counsel. Rule 71.1(g), SCRCP.

Before the adoption of the PCR Act, inmates often pursued post-appeal claims by petitioning the court for a writ of habeas corpus or other remedial writ. The PCR Act now "comprehends and takes the place of all other common law, statutory, or other remedies heretofore available for challenging the validity of the conviction or sentence." S.C.Code Ann. § 17-27-20(b) (1985); Finklea v. State, 273 S.C. 157, 255 S.E.2d 447 (1979) (aim of PCR Act is to consolidate in one simple statute all the remedies presently available for challenging the validity of a sentence of imprisonment).

In keeping with that principle, we clearly have indicated that we wish to limit habeas petitions and funnel issues raised by inmates challenging their conviction or sentence into the PCR process. We briefly traced the history of habeas corpus and the advent of the PCR Act in Simpson v. State, 329 S.C. 43, 495 S.E.2d 429 (1998). We held that a matter which is cognizable under the PCR Act must be raised in PCR application,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
254 cases
  • Craig v. S.C. Dep't of Corr.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • July 10, 2012
  • Young v. Lewis
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • April 11, 2019
  • Dewberry v. Burton
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • July 22, 2022
    ... ... and James Cheek, and Assistant Solicitors Abel Gray and ... Allison Mabbs appeared on behalf of the State. Id ... Following two days of trial, Petitioner indicated he wished ... to enter a negotiated guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter ... violation must frame the issue as one of ineffective ... assistance of counsel. Al-Shabazz v. State , 338 S.C ... 354, 363-64, 527 S.E.2d 742, 747 (2000) (citations omitted) ... An applicant who pleads guilty on the advice of ... ...
  • Dewberry v. Burton
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • July 22, 2022
    ... ... and James Cheek, and Assistant Solicitors Abel Gray and ... Allison Mabbs appeared on behalf of the State. Id ... Following two days of trial, Petitioner indicated he wished ... to enter a negotiated guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter ... violation must frame the issue as one of ineffective ... assistance of counsel. Al-Shabazz v. State , 338 S.C ... 354, 363-64, 527 S.E.2d 742, 747 (2000) (citations omitted) ... An applicant who pleads guilty on the advice of ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT