Wolfe v. State, No. 24614

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtTOAL; FINNEY
Citation485 S.E.2d 367,326 S.C. 158
PartiesWilliam WOLFE, Respondent, v. STATE of South Carolina, Petitioner.
Docket NumberNo. 24614
Decision Date12 May 1997

Page 367

485 S.E.2d 367
326 S.C. 158
William WOLFE, Respondent,
v.
STATE of South Carolina, Petitioner.
No. 24614.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Submitted Feb. 20, 1997.
Decided May 12, 1997.

Page 368

[326 S.C. 160] Attorney General Charles Molony Condon, Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Teresa A. Knox, Assistant Attorney General Matthew M. McGuire, Columbia, for Petitioner.

Assistant Appellate Defender Lesley Coggiola, of South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for Respondent.

TOAL, Justice:

In this action for Post-Conviction Relief ("PCR,"), the PCR court granted relief to William Wolfe based on ineffective [326 S.C. 161] assistance of counsel at Wolfe's guilty plea proceeding. We reverse.

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In early 1994, Wolfe was indicted for assault and battery with intent to kill ("ABIK") and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a violent crime. The case was called for trial in May 1 994. During the pre-trial motion hearing, the trial judge refused to grant Wolfe a continuance to get a mental evaluation and also indicated, though without ruling conclusively on the matter, that he would exclude as irrelevant certain evidence relating to Wolfe's motive for the shooting. 1

Before the State began to present its case in chief, Wolfe decided to plead guilty. The evidence presented to the PCR court was conflicting regarding Wolfe's reasons for pleading guilty. Certainly both Wolfe and his trial counsel had felt boxed in by the trial court's pretrial rulings.

Additionally, however, Wolfe testified at the PCR hearing that his trial counsel had represented to him that the judge would give Wolfe a reduced sentence (100 to 15 years) if he would plead guilty. In contrast, Wolfe's trial lawyer testified at the PCR hearing that he had informed Wolfe that although he hoped the trial judge would give him a reduced sentence, the judge certainly was not obligated to do so.

Page 369

The transcript of the guilty plea hearing reflects that the trial judge questioned Wolfe extensively about the plea, asking him, inter alia, whether he understood that he could get twenty years for ABIK and five years for possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a violent crime and whether he had been promised anything for pleading guilty. Wolfe's answers to these questions reflect an awareness of the potential range of sentences and an understanding that he had not been promised anything in return for his guilty plea.

Moreover, at the guilty plea, his lawyer stated to the court:

[326 S.C. 162] And just so the record is correct, Your Honor, I did indicate to the defendant here, whether rightly or wrongly, but as counsel, trying to do my job, Your Honor, I did explain to the defendant that it would be my hope that by, as I say, standing up here like a man and admitting to the wrongful act that took place that perhaps that the Court may take that into consideration as some mitigation toward his sentence.

But I told him there is no promise from the Court or anything like that; and there is no negotiations from the State at all.

Immediately following this statement by Wolfe's trial lawyer, the following exchange occurred:

The Court: Mr. Wolfe, you understand the recommendations from the attorneys, or what they have said to you, is not binding on me in any way. I have to hear the facts.

The Defendant: Yes, sir.

Shortly thereafter, the trial judge sentenced Wolfe to the maximum possible sentences--twenty years on the ABIK and five years for possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a violent crime.

Wolfe abandoned his direct appeal. In his application for PCR, he alleged his trial counsel had been ineffective in failing to request a continuance prior to the day of trial, in failing to develop certain defenses, and in failing to adequately explain to him the plea procedure and potential sentence. The PCR, court granted Wolfe's application.

This Court then granted the State's petition for writ of certiorari.

LAW/ANALYSIS

A. INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN DEVELOPMENT OF DEFENSES

The State first argues the PCR, court erred in finding Wolfe's trial counsel was ineffective in failing to request a continuance prior to the day of trial and in failing to develop certain defenses. 2 We agree.

[326 S.C. 163] For a petitioner to be granted Post Conviction Relief as a result of ineffective assistance of counsel, he must show both (I) that his counsel failed to render reasonably...

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32 practice notes
  • State v. Rivera, No. 27220.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 3 Abril 2013
    ...in excluding Appellant's testimony, which is not an appropriate basis for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. See Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 162, 485 S.E.2d 367, 369 n. 2 (1997) (“[T]rial court error does not constitute an appropriate basis for a finding of ineffective assistance......
  • Young v. Lewis, C/A No.: 5:18-3046-RMG-KDW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 11 Abril 2019
    ...error by counsel was cured by the information conveyed at the plea hearing." Id. at 138-39, 654 S.E.2d at 874 (citing Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 165, 485 S.E.2d 367, 370 (1997)).Applicant testified he felt Counsel should have arranged for a competency evaluation to be performed on him al......
  • Marsh v. Stevenson, C/A No. 5:15-04633-JMC-KDW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 22 Febrero 2017
    ...not equal a misapprehension by the Applicant concerning the possible range of sentence the Applicant could receive. See Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 165, 485 S.E.2d 367, 371 (1997).Considering this Applicant was represented on his two charges by two public defender, this Court finds it is ......
  • Pegues v. Kendall, C. A. 5:21-763-TMC-KDW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 4 Noviembre 2021
    ...cure any alleged deficiency if counsel [did] not properly advise an applicant about the consequences of accepting it. See Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 165, 485 S.E.2d 367, 370 (1997) (stating that plea counsel's deficient performance can be cured by the plea court's colloquy). Erroneous Se......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • State v. Rivera, No. 27220.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 3 Abril 2013
    ...in excluding Appellant's testimony, which is not an appropriate basis for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. See Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 162, 485 S.E.2d 367, 369 n. 2 (1997) (“[T]rial court error does not constitute an appropriate basis for a finding of ineffective assistance......
  • Young v. Lewis, C/A No.: 5:18-3046-RMG-KDW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 11 Abril 2019
    ...error by counsel was cured by the information conveyed at the plea hearing." Id. at 138-39, 654 S.E.2d at 874 (citing Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 165, 485 S.E.2d 367, 370 (1997)).Applicant testified he felt Counsel should have arranged for a competency evaluation to be performed on him al......
  • Marsh v. Stevenson, C/A No. 5:15-04633-JMC-KDW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 22 Febrero 2017
    ...not equal a misapprehension by the Applicant concerning the possible range of sentence the Applicant could receive. See Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 165, 485 S.E.2d 367, 371 (1997).Considering this Applicant was represented on his two charges by two public defender, this Court finds it is ......
  • Pegues v. Kendall, C. A. 5:21-763-TMC-KDW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 4 Noviembre 2021
    ...cure any alleged deficiency if counsel [did] not properly advise an applicant about the consequences of accepting it. See Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 165, 485 S.E.2d 367, 370 (1997) (stating that plea counsel's deficient performance can be cured by the plea court's colloquy). Erroneous Se......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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