Wade v. State, No. 25409.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Citation348 S.C. 255,559 S.E.2d 843
Decision Date11 February 2002
Docket NumberNo. 25409.
PartiesStacy WADE, Petitioner, v. STATE of South Carolina, Respondent.

348 S.C. 255
559 S.E.2d 843

Stacy WADE, Petitioner,
v.
STATE of South Carolina, Respondent

No. 25409.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Submitted November 28, 2001.

Decided February 11, 2002.


348 S.C. 256
Senior Assistant Appellate Defender Wanda H. Haile, of South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, of Columbia, for petitioner

348 S.C. 257
Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General B. Allen Bullard, Jr., and Assistant Attorney General David Spencer, all of Columbia, for respondent

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

Justice BURNETT:

Stacy Wade ("Wade") appeals the PCR court's recommendation to revoke his inmate credits for falsely testifying under S.C.Code Ann. § 24-27-200 (Supp.2000). We reverse.

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Wade originally pled guilty, as part of a plea bargain, to various charges including distribution of crack cocaine. Wade did not appeal, but ultimately filed for post-conviction relief ("PCR").

Wade asserts he is entitled to relief because he was coerced into pleading guilty. Wade insists he pled guilty after his attorney instructed him to do so or he would lose the plea bargain. Both of Wade's attorneys contradicted his testimony suggesting they induced him to lie.

The State moved, pursuant to S.C.Code Ann. § 24-27-200 (Supp.2000), to revoke Wade's inmate credits for testifying falsely at the PCR hearing. The PCR court denied Wade's petition, but granted the motion to revoke Wade's credits.

ISSUE

Did the PCR court err in recommending forfeiture of Wade's inmate credits under S.C.Code Ann. § 24-27-200 (Supp.2000) for testifying falsely?

DISCUSSION

Deciding whether the PCR court erred this Court must first address whether § 24-27-200 applies to PCR hearings. We hold it does not.

348 S.C. 258
I

The relevant portion of the statute provides:

A prisoner shall forfeit all or part of his earned work, education or good conduct credits in an amount to be determined by the Department of Corrections upon recommendation of the court if the court finds that the prisoner has done any of the following in a case pertaining to his incarceration or apprehension filed by him in state or federal court or in an administrative proceeding while incarcerated:
...
(2) testified falsely or otherwise presented false evidence or information to the court;
...
The court may make such findings on its own motion, on motion of counsel for the defendant, or on motion of the Attorney General, who is authorized to appear in the proceeding, if he elects, in order to move for the findings in a case in which the State or any public entity or official is a defendant.

S.C.Code Ann. § 24-27-200 (Supp.2000)(emphasis added).

This case presents an issue of first impression. Previously this Court in Al—Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (2000), mentioned § 24-27-200 twice in dicta.1 This case appears to be the first instance where the Attorney General's office has used the revocation statute.

This Court in Al—Shabazz v. State, supra, held an inmate may raise inmate credit issues or conditions of imprisonment under the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA") and not through PCR. This Court cited § 24-27-200 both times in discussing an inmate's challenge to credit issues within the

348 S.C. 259
APA. See Al Shabazz, 338 S.C. at 381-82, 527 S.E.2d at 756-57. Al Shabazz does not control the disposition of this case

The cardinal rule of statutory construction is for a court to give effect to the Legislature's intent. Charleston County Sch. Dist. v. State Budget and Control Bd., 313 S.C. 1, 437 S.E.2d 6 (1993). "What a legislature says in the text of a statute is considered the best evidence of the legislative intent or will." Norman J. Singer, Sutherland Statutory Construction § 46.03 at 94 (5th ed.1992). A court must apply the plain meaning of a statute where its language is unambiguous and conveys a clear meaning. Hodges v. Rainey, 341 S.C. 79, 533 S.E.2d 578 (2000).

The statute seemingly includes PCR hearings as cases instituted by an inmate, filed in a state court, relating to his incarceration. See 17 S.C. Jur. § 2 (1993) ("State post-conviction relief is a civil action by which a person convicted of, or sentenced for, a crime, and who is either detained or faces a possibility of detention, institutes a proceeding to challenge a court's conviction or sentence on constitutional grounds."). However, a court must reject a statute's interpretation leading to absurd results not intended by the Legislature. Ray Bell Constr. Co. v. School Dist. of Greenville County, 331 S.C. 19, 501 S.E.2d 725 (1998).

Additionally, courts are not confined to the literal meaning of a statute where the literal import of the words contradicts the real purpose and intent of the lawmakers. Greenville Baseball v. Bearden, 200 S.C. 363, 20 S.E.2d 813 (1942). To obtain the real purpose and intent of the lawmakers a court must not look to the "phraseology of an isolated section or provision, but the language of the statute as a whole considered in the light of its manifest purpose." City of Columbia v. Niagara Fire Ins. Co., 249 S.C. 388, 391, 154 S.E.2d 674, 676 (1967). All provisions of a statute must be given full force and effect. Nucor Steel v. South Carolina Pub. Serv. Com'n, 310 S.C. 539, 426 S.E.2d 319 (1992). Applying § 24-27-200 to PCR actions results in absurd and disparate results not intended by the Legislature.

348 S.C. 260
II

The Legislature passed the revocation statute within the Inmate Litigation Act ("ILA"). See S.C.Code Ann. § 24-27-100, et seq. (Supp.2000); 1996 Act No. 455. The primary problem with applying § 24-27-200 to PCR actions is it creates disparity between non-incarcerated and incarcerated applicants.2

348 S.C. 261
The chief problem with applying the ILA to PCR is the disparity between non-incarcerated and incarcerated applicants. The ILA applies only to prisoners "defined as a person who has been convicted of a crime and is incarcerated for that crime or is being held in custody for trial or sentencing." S.C.Code Ann. § 24-27-140 (Supp.2000). However, an individual may apply for PCR if they are in custody or can demonstrate prejudice from the persistent results of their conviction. See Jackson v. State, 331 S.C. 486, 489 S.E.2d 915 (1997). Applying the ILA to PCR proceedings gives the State the power to punish prisoners for asserting constitutional rights while non-incarcerated applicants can assert those rights without fear of retribution. The State does not proffer any justification for such disparate treatment.

We note this disparity increases when applying other provisions of the ILA to PCR actions. A court under § 24-27-300 may hold a prisoner for contempt of court for a period of not exceeding one year if it finds:

the prisoner has, on three or more prior occasions, while incarcerated, brought in a court of this State a civil action or appeal pertaining to his incarceration or apprehension that was dismissed prior to a hearing on the merits on the grounds that the action or appeal was frivolous, malicious, or meritless.

S.C.Code Ann. § 24-27-300 (Supp.2000).

If the provisions of the ILA applied to PCR actions, a court could hold an incarcerated applicant who...

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16 practice notes
  • Creswick v. The Univ. of S.C., 28053
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • August 17, 2021
    ...the literal meaning of a statute where the literal import contradicts the real purpose and intent of the lawmakers." Wade v. State, 348 S.C. 255, 259, 559 S.E.2d 843, 845 (2002). Given legislative intent, we are constrained to construe Proviso 117.190 as prohibiting a mask mandate such......
  • Regions Bank v. Strawn, No. 5027.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 25, 2012
    ...and effectuate the intent of the legislature.” Id. The best evidence of legislative intent is the text of the statute. Wade v. State, 348 S.C. 255, 259, 559 S.E.2d 843, 844 (2002). “All rules of statutory construction are subservient to the one that the legislative intent must prevail if it......
  • Sutton v. State, No. 25910.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • December 13, 2004
    ...or sentence). A PCR action is a civil action generally subject to rules and statutes that apply in civil proceedings. Wade v. State, 348 S.C. 255, 263, 559 S.E.2d 843, 846-847 (2002); S.C.Code 361 S.C. 648 Ann. § 17-27-80 (2003). A PCR application ordinarily "must be filed within one y......
  • Council v. Catoe, No. 25833.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 1, 2004
    ...for PCR proceedings of mentally incompetent petitioners to go forward. CIVIL ACTION A PCR action is a civil action. See Wade v. State, 348 S.C. 255, 259, 559 S.E.2d 843, 844 (2002) (citing 17 S.C. Jur. 2 (1993) ("State post-conviction relief is a civil action by which a person convicte......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Creswick v. The Univ. of S.C., 28053
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • August 17, 2021
    ...the literal meaning of a statute where the literal import contradicts the real purpose and intent of the lawmakers." Wade v. State, 348 S.C. 255, 259, 559 S.E.2d 843, 845 (2002). Given legislative intent, we are constrained to construe Proviso 117.190 as prohibiting a mask mandate such......
  • Regions Bank v. Strawn, No. 5027.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 25, 2012
    ...and effectuate the intent of the legislature.” Id. The best evidence of legislative intent is the text of the statute. Wade v. State, 348 S.C. 255, 259, 559 S.E.2d 843, 844 (2002). “All rules of statutory construction are subservient to the one that the legislative intent must prevail if it......
  • Sutton v. State, No. 25910.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • December 13, 2004
    ...or sentence). A PCR action is a civil action generally subject to rules and statutes that apply in civil proceedings. Wade v. State, 348 S.C. 255, 263, 559 S.E.2d 843, 846-847 (2002); S.C.Code 361 S.C. 648 Ann. § 17-27-80 (2003). A PCR application ordinarily "must be filed within one y......
  • Council v. Catoe, No. 25833.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 1, 2004
    ...for PCR proceedings of mentally incompetent petitioners to go forward. CIVIL ACTION A PCR action is a civil action. See Wade v. State, 348 S.C. 255, 259, 559 S.E.2d 843, 844 (2002) (citing 17 S.C. Jur. 2 (1993) ("State post-conviction relief is a civil action by which a person convicte......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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