State v. Hazel, No. 21318

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; LITTLEJOHN; LITTLEJOHN
Citation271 S.E.2d 602,275 S.C. 392
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Wanda Jean HAZEL, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 21318
Decision Date27 October 1980

Page 602

271 S.E.2d 602
275 S.C. 392
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Wanda Jean HAZEL, Appellant.
No. 21318.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Oct. 27, 1980.

[275 S.C. 393] Chief Atty. John L. Sweeny and Staff Atty. Tara D. Shurling, S. C. Appellate

Page 603

Defense Commission, Columbia, for appellant.

Atty. Gen. Daniel R. McLeod and Asst. Atty. Gen. Kay G. Crowe, Columbia, and Sol. Claude A. Taylor, Jr., Spartanburg, for respondent.

PER CURIAM:

Appellant Wanda Jean Hazel challenges the denial of a request to withdraw her plea of guilty to kidnapping, for which she was sentenced to life imprisonment. Appellant claims that her plea was the result of improper advice from her attorney and misleading statements by the trial judge regarding the sentence for kidnapping. We agree.

Section 16-3-910 of the S.C.Code of Laws (Cum.Supp.1979) provides that a person convicted of kidnapping "shall suffer the punishment of life imprisonment unless sentenced for murder as provided in § 16-3-20." (emphasis supplied). This provision is mandatory. Upon acceptance of a plea of guilty to kidnapping a trial judge has no discretion to impose a lesser sentence or suspend a portion of the life sentence and impose probation. See S.C.Code of Laws, § 24-21-410 (1976).

Here, the record indicates that while consulting with appellant regarding a possible plea of guilty to kidnapping, trial counsel advised her that the presiding judge might exercise discretion in passing sentence. Indeed, during the [275 S.C. 394] plea examination itself, the judge informed appellant merely that he "could" impose a "maximum" sentence of life imprisonment. Only following acceptance of the plea, and just prior to sentencing, did the judge state that kidnapping carried a mandatory life term. At this point, counsel moved unsuccessfully to withdraw the plea on the basis that she had improperly advised appellant regarding sentencing.

It is elementary that in order for a defendant to knowingly and voluntarily plead guilty, he must have a full understanding of the consequences of his plea. Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L.Ed.2d 274 (1969). Upon the facts in this case, appellant's plea was not knowing because it was entered without an understanding of the mandatory punishment for the offense to which she was pleading. 1 It was thus a plea entered in ignorance of its direct consequence, and was therefore invalid.

Accordingly, the judgment of conviction is reversed; the matter is...

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14 practice notes
  • Vittitoe v. State, No. 07-58050
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • February 7, 1990
    ...347 N.W.2d 28, 29 (1984) ("failure to inform a defendant of a mandatory minimum sentence requires reversal"). The case of State v. Hazel, 275 S.C. 392, 271 S.E.2d 602, 603 (1980) is illustrative of this It is elementary that in order for a defendant to knowingly and voluntarily plead guilty......
  • Hyman v. State, No. 27105.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • March 14, 2012
    ...S.C. 45] rights being waived.” Anderson v. State, 342 S.C. 54, 57, 535 S.E.2d 649, 651 (2000) (emphasis removed) (citing State v. Hazel, 275 S.C. 392, 271 S.E.2d 602 (1980)). At the evidentiary hearing, the PCR judge found defense counsel to be more credible than Petitioner. See Solomon v. ......
  • Anderson v. State, No. 25178.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • August 7, 2000
    ...of the offense, the maximum and any mandatory minimum penalty, and the nature of the constitutional rights being waived. State v. Hazel, 275 S.C. 392, 271 S.E.2d 602 (1980) (emphasis supplied); Dover v. State, 304 S.C. 433, 405 S.E.2d 391 (1991). In State v. Armstrong, 263 S.C. 594, 211 S.E......
  • Roddy v. State, No. 25075.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 22, 2000
    ...have a full understanding of the consequences of the plea. Dover v. State, 304 S.C. 433, 405 S.E.2d 391 (1991) (citing State v. Hazel, 275 S.C. 392, 271 S.E.2d 602 (1980)). To ensure the defendant understands the consequences of his guilty plea, the trial judge usually questions the defenda......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Vittitoe v. State, No. 07-58050
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • February 7, 1990
    ...347 N.W.2d 28, 29 (1984) ("failure to inform a defendant of a mandatory minimum sentence requires reversal"). The case of State v. Hazel, 275 S.C. 392, 271 S.E.2d 602, 603 (1980) is illustrative of this It is elementary that in order for a defendant to knowingly and voluntarily plead guilty......
  • Hyman v. State, No. 27105.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • March 14, 2012
    ...S.C. 45] rights being waived.” Anderson v. State, 342 S.C. 54, 57, 535 S.E.2d 649, 651 (2000) (emphasis removed) (citing State v. Hazel, 275 S.C. 392, 271 S.E.2d 602 (1980)). At the evidentiary hearing, the PCR judge found defense counsel to be more credible than Petitioner. See Solomon v. ......
  • Anderson v. State, No. 25178.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • August 7, 2000
    ...of the offense, the maximum and any mandatory minimum penalty, and the nature of the constitutional rights being waived. State v. Hazel, 275 S.C. 392, 271 S.E.2d 602 (1980) (emphasis supplied); Dover v. State, 304 S.C. 433, 405 S.E.2d 391 (1991). In State v. Armstrong, 263 S.C. 594, 211 S.E......
  • Roddy v. State, No. 25075.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 22, 2000
    ...have a full understanding of the consequences of the plea. Dover v. State, 304 S.C. 433, 405 S.E.2d 391 (1991) (citing State v. Hazel, 275 S.C. 392, 271 S.E.2d 602 (1980)). To ensure the defendant understands the consequences of his guilty plea, the trial judge usually questions the defenda......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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