State v. Huiett, No. 23241

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtHARWELL; GREGORY
Citation302 S.C. 169,394 S.E.2d 486
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Randall HUIETT, Appellant. . Heard
Decision Date09 May 1990
Docket NumberNo. 23241

Page 486

394 S.E.2d 486
302 S.C. 169
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Randall HUIETT, Appellant.
No. 23241.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard May 9, 1990.
Decided July 23, 1990.

Asst. Appellate Defenders Joseph L. Savitz, III and Robert M. Pachak, of S.C. Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for appellant.

Atty. Gen. T. Travis Medlock, Asst. Atty. Gen. Harold M. Coombs, Jr., and Staff Atty. Miller W. Shealy, Jr., and Sol. James C. Anders, Columbia, for respondent.

[302 S.C. 170] HARWELL, Justice.

This case involves the issue of whether the trial judge erred in committing appellant Randall Huiett to the South Carolina State Hospital pursuant to S.C.Code Ann. § 17-24-40 (1976), which was enacted in 1984. Appellant argues that the application of Section 17-24-40, constituted a violation of the prohibition against ex post facto laws as it was enacted after appellant committed the offense for which he was charged.

Appellant Randall Huiett was indicted in 1977 for the October 28, 1976 ax-murder of a dairy worker. Appellant's first trial on May 4 and 5, 1977, ended in a mistrial. On May 11 and 12, 1977, appellant was retried and convicted of murder despite his defense of insanity. This Court reversed and remanded the case. 1 Upon remand and in a subsequent proceeding, appellant was

Page 487

then found not guilty by reason of insanity after a bench trial held on February 28, 1989. The trial judge then committed appellant to the South Carolina State Hospital for a 120-day evaluation pursuant to S.C.Code Ann. § 17-24-40 (1976). This appeal follows.
DISCUSSION

Appellant asserts that the trial judge erred in committing him to the South Carolina State Hospital pursuant to Section 17-24-40 which was enacted in 1984. Appellant argues that the trial judge should have applied S.C.Code Ann. § 44-23-610 (1976) which sets forth the standards for commitment of persons acquitted by reason of insanity and was the law in effect at the time of the offense. 2 Appellant submits that the [302 S.C. 171] retroactive application of Section 17-24-40 disadvantaged him and constituted a violation of the prohibition against ex post facto laws as set forth in S.C. Const. art. I, § 4 and in U.S. Const. art. I, § 10.

It has been held that an ex post facto law "is an enactment, criminal or penal in nature, which is retrospective and disadvantages the offender affected by it." United States v. Mest, 789 F.2d 1069, 1071 (4th Cir.1986); Weaver v. Graham, 450 U.S. 24, 101 S.Ct. 960, 67 L.Ed.2d 17 (1981). As early as 1798, the United States Supreme Court set forth what constitutes an ex post facto law in Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. (3 Dall.) 386, 390, 1 L.Ed. 648, 650 (1798):

1st. Every law that makes an action done before the passing of the law; and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action. 2d. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed. 3d. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense, in order to convict the offender.

The purpose of an ex post facto clause is to "assure that federal and state legislatures [are] restrained from enacting arbitrary or vindictive legislation" and that "legislative enactments 'give fair warning of their effect and permit individuals to rely on their meaning until explicitly changed'." Miller v. Florida, 482 U.S. 423, 429-430, 107 S.Ct. 2446, 2451, 96 L.Ed.2d 351, 359 (1987) (citations omitted). Therefore, in order for a law to fall within the ex post facto prohibition, two critical elements must be present: (1) the law must be retrospective so as to apply to events occurring before its enactment, and (2) the law must disadvantage the offender affected by it. Miller v. Florida, supra.

No ex post facto violation occurs if a change does not alter " 'substantial personal rights', but merely changes 'modes of procedure which do not affect matters of substance'." Miller v. Florida, 482 U.S. at...

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12 practice notes
  • In re Treatment and Care of Luckabaugh, No. 25503.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 22 Julio 2002
    ...the punishment for a crime). A statute must be criminal or penal in purpose or nature to offend the ex post facto clause. State v. Huiett, 302 S.C. 169, 394 S.E.2d 486 (1990)(citing Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 80 S.Ct. 1367, 4 L.Ed.2d 1435 The Act meets the first prong by applying ret......
  • Barton v. S.C. Dep't of Prob. Parole, No. 27281.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 3 Julio 2013
    ...in law that merely affects a mode of procedure, but does not alter substantial personal rights is not ex post facto. State v. Huiett, 302 S.C. 169, 172, 394 S.E.2d 486, 487 (1990) (citing Miller v. Florida, 482 U.S. 423, 107 S.Ct. 2446, 96 L.Ed.2d 351 (1987)). A court should look to the eff......
  • State v. Walls, No. 25396.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 14 Enero 2002
    ...facto clause to be applicable, the statute or the provision in question must be criminal or penal in purpose and nature. State v. Huiett, 302 S.C. 169, 394 S.E.2d 486 (1990) (citing Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 80 S.Ct. 1367, 4 L.Ed.2d 1435 The Act meets the first prong of determining ......
  • Pierce v. State, No. 25043.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 10 Enero 2000
    ...alleged offense was not applied in defendant's case because that would result in ex post facto or due process violation); State v. Huiett, 302 S.C. 169, 171, 394 S.E.2d 486, 487 (1990) (to fall within the ex post facto prohibition, a law must be retrospective so as to apply to events occurr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • In re Treatment and Care of Luckabaugh, No. 25503.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 22 Julio 2002
    ...the punishment for a crime). A statute must be criminal or penal in purpose or nature to offend the ex post facto clause. State v. Huiett, 302 S.C. 169, 394 S.E.2d 486 (1990)(citing Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 80 S.Ct. 1367, 4 L.Ed.2d 1435 The Act meets the first prong by applying ret......
  • Barton v. S.C. Dep't of Prob. Parole, No. 27281.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 3 Julio 2013
    ...in law that merely affects a mode of procedure, but does not alter substantial personal rights is not ex post facto. State v. Huiett, 302 S.C. 169, 172, 394 S.E.2d 486, 487 (1990) (citing Miller v. Florida, 482 U.S. 423, 107 S.Ct. 2446, 96 L.Ed.2d 351 (1987)). A court should look to the eff......
  • State v. Walls, No. 25396.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 14 Enero 2002
    ...facto clause to be applicable, the statute or the provision in question must be criminal or penal in purpose and nature. State v. Huiett, 302 S.C. 169, 394 S.E.2d 486 (1990) (citing Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 80 S.Ct. 1367, 4 L.Ed.2d 1435 The Act meets the first prong of determining ......
  • Pierce v. State, No. 25043.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 10 Enero 2000
    ...alleged offense was not applied in defendant's case because that would result in ex post facto or due process violation); State v. Huiett, 302 S.C. 169, 171, 394 S.E.2d 486, 487 (1990) (to fall within the ex post facto prohibition, a law must be retrospective so as to apply to events occurr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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