State v. Pride, No. 4208.

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtBeatty
Citation641 S.E.2d 921
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Christopher Lee PRIDE, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 4208.
Decision Date20 February 2007
641 S.E.2d 921
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Christopher Lee PRIDE, Appellant.
No. 4208.
Court of Appeals of South Carolina.
Submitted January 1, 2007.
Decided February 20, 2007.

Appellate Defender Robert M. Dudek, of Columbia, Fletcher N. Smith, Jr., of Greenville, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, Senior Assistant Attorney General Harold M. Coombs, Jr., all of Columbia; and Solicitor Thomas E. Pope, of Rock Hill; for Respondent.

BEATTY, J.:


Christopher Lee Pride was tried in absentia and without counsel for the charges of possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute within the proximity of a school. After the jury convicted Pride of both offenses, the circuit court judge issued a sealed sentence. Pride appeals, arguing the circuit court judge erred in finding he waived

641 S.E.2d 922

his right to counsel. We affirm.1

FACTS

As a result of an on-going narcotics investigation, detectives with the Union Police Department identified Pride as a crack cocaine dealer. On the morning of April 2, 2003, detectives went to Pride's residence and served him with a search warrant. Upon entering the residence, Detective Brian Bailey read Pride his Miranda2 rights. Bailey then questioned Pride as to whether there were any illegal drugs in the house. According to Bailey, Pride admitted there were illegal drugs in the house and there was a bag of crack cocaine in his blue jeans which were located in his bedroom. While conducting a search of the area identified by Pride, the detectives found $1,875 in cash and a bag containing 3.62 grams of crack cocaine. Detectives then placed Pride under arrest and transported him to the police station. Pride gave a written statement in which he confessed to dealing crack cocaine and acknowledged the result of the detectives' search of his residence. Subsequently, a Union County grand jury indicted Pride for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute (PWID) and PWID within proximity of a school.

On October 13, 2004, Pride's case was called for trial. Although Pride was not present, William All, the public defender assigned to his case, appeared in court. When the circuit court judge inquired about Pride's absence All outlined the history of his representation of Pride. All explained that he was appointed to represent Pride on September 13, 2004, the first day of the term of court for which Pride was originally scheduled to go to trial. On that day, Pride was represented by Fletcher Smith, a private attorney. The circuit court judge, however, granted Smith's motion to be relieved and informed Pride that he needed to retain an attorney. Because Pride qualified for the public defender's office, All was appointed to his case.

Pride failed to appear for two scheduled appointments with All. Each time, Pride informed All that he could not attend the appointments because of his work schedule. After the two missed appointments, All sent Pride a letter on October 1, 2004, indicating that his trial was scheduled for the week of October 11, 2004, and that he could not adequately represent him without speaking with him. Additionally, All asked Pride to advise him if he had retained private counsel. In response, Pride scheduled another appointment for October 7th. Pride again failed to appear for this appointment and offered no explanation.

On October 11th, Pride went to the Union County courthouse to report for roll call and was arrested for a driving under suspension charge. When officers searched Pride's person, they discovered $5,000 in his pocket. While in custody, law enforcement transported Pride to the courthouse so that he could speak with All. At that time, Pride told All that Smith was again representing him and he had intended to give Smith the $5,000 after he reported for roll call. Later that evening, Pride was released from custody. The next morning at the courthouse, All told Pride that Smith needed to come to the courthouse to review the pre-trial motions that the solicitor intended to use during his case. According to All, Pride indicated that Smith would come to the courthouse. All then contacted Smith's office in the afternoon and discussed the matter with Smith's administrative assistant. The administrative assistant informed All that Pride had attempted to pay $250 for Smith's representation. In response, All stated that Pride had indicated to him that he had $5,000 for Smith. Although Smith's administrative assistant stated that she would contact Pride about payment and then call All back, she did not contact All and there is no evidence in the record of an agreement by Smith to represent Pride. On the morning of trial, the solicitor contacted All and told him that

641 S.E.2d 923

Smith's office had informed him that Smith did not represent Pride.

Upon hearing this factual recitation, the solicitor moved to have Pride tried in his absence. The circuit court judge then inquired whether All wished to make a motion to be relieved as counsel. Although All was hesitant to make the motion out of an ethical obligation to his client, he made the motion which was granted by the judge. In so ruling, the judge specifically found that Pride waived his right to counsel by his conduct. Pride was then tried and convicted for the drug offenses. After the jury returned a verdict, the judge issued a sealed sentence.

On January 18, 2005, Pride appeared in court to be sentenced. Pride admitted that he did not have an attorney for the sentencing hearing. All appeared at the hearing and again explained his history of representing Pride. He indicated that he could "perfect an appeal for [Pride] if he wants to raise the issue of whether or not he shouldn't have been tried in his absence." All indicated that he would move for appellate defense to represent Pride in his appeal. The judge then asked All to stand with Pride as he imposed the sentence. The judge sentenced Pride to twenty-five years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine for PWID and fifteen years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine for PWID within proximity of a school. The sentences were to be served concurrently. This appeal followed.

DISCUSSION

Pride argues the circuit court judge erred in relieving All as his counsel and proceeding with the trial in his absence. He contends his conduct was not...

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4 practice notes
  • Pride v. McFadden, Civil Action No.:2:15-cv-00590-HMH-MGB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • June 30, 2016
    ...Carolina Court of Appeals issued a published opinion affirming Petitioner's convictions and sentences. See State v. Pride, 372 S.C. 443, 641 S.E.2d 921 (Ct. App. 2007). Petitioner filed a Petition for Rehearing, which was granted on July 2, 2007. Page 3(See Dkt. No. 18-1 at 162 of 194.) On ......
  • State v. Colden, No. 4207.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 20, 2007
    ...record and circumstances brings us to the ineluctable conclusion that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in denying the motion. 641 S.E.2d 921 CONCLUSION The trial judge did not abuse his discretion in denying Colden's motion for a continuance. This denial was supported by the fac......
  • State v. Pride, 2007-UP-544
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 20, 2007
    ...right to counsel. We affirm. The panel of this Court affirmed Pride's convictions in a published opinion. State v. Pride, 372 S.C. 443, 641 S.E.2d 921 (Ct. App. 2007). Subsequently, the panel granted Pride's petition for rehearing and request for oral argument. We now withdraw our previous ......
  • State v. Fairey, No. 4233.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 16, 2007
    ...Deliberate and dilatory conduct on behalf of a defendant can suffice to waive the right to counsel. State v. Pride, 372 S.C. 443, 641 S.E.2d 921 (2007) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 7 at 69); see also State v. Jacobs, 271 S.C. 126, 128, 245 S.E.2d 606, 608 (1978) (holding a waiver of the right to......
4 cases
  • Pride v. McFadden, Civil Action No.:2:15-cv-00590-HMH-MGB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • June 30, 2016
    ...Carolina Court of Appeals issued a published opinion affirming Petitioner's convictions and sentences. See State v. Pride, 372 S.C. 443, 641 S.E.2d 921 (Ct. App. 2007). Petitioner filed a Petition for Rehearing, which was granted on July 2, 2007. Page 3(See Dkt. No. 18-1 at 162 of 194.) On ......
  • State v. Colden, No. 4207.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 20, 2007
    ...record and circumstances brings us to the ineluctable conclusion that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in denying the motion. 641 S.E.2d 921 CONCLUSION The trial judge did not abuse his discretion in denying Colden's motion for a continuance. This denial was supported by the fac......
  • State v. Pride, 2007-UP-544
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 20, 2007
    ...right to counsel. We affirm. The panel of this Court affirmed Pride's convictions in a published opinion. State v. Pride, 372 S.C. 443, 641 S.E.2d 921 (Ct. App. 2007). Subsequently, the panel granted Pride's petition for rehearing and request for oral argument. We now withdraw our previous ......
  • State v. Fairey, No. 4233.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 16, 2007
    ...Deliberate and dilatory conduct on behalf of a defendant can suffice to waive the right to counsel. State v. Pride, 372 S.C. 443, 641 S.E.2d 921 (2007) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 7 at 69); see also State v. Jacobs, 271 S.C. 126, 128, 245 S.E.2d 606, 608 (1978) (holding a waiver of the right to......

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