Submitted March 4, 2015
Appeal From Greenville County. Letitia H. Verdin, Circuit Court Judge. Appellate Case No. 2012-213673.
Appellate Defender Susan Barber Hackett, of Columbia, for Petitioner.
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, and Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, all of Columbia; and Solicitor William Walter Wilkins, III, of Greenville, for Respondent.
[412 S.C. 473] KONDUROS, J.
In this case involving section 17-28-30 of the South Carolina Code (2014), which provides for post-conviction DNA testing, Orlando Smith appeals the circuit court's application of the seven-year time limit for defendants who pled guilty or no contest. He argues he pled not guilty and the statute contains no time limit for those defendants. We reverse and remand.
In July 2000, Smith was tried and convicted of murder after pleading not guilty. The trial court sentenced him to thirty years' imprisonment.
[412 S.C. 474] In 2008, the South Carolina General Assembly passed the Access to Justice Post-Conviction DNA Testing Act (the Act), and on January 1, 2009, it became effective. See S.C. Code Ann. § 17-28-10 to -120 (2014), 2008 S.C. Acts 413, § 1. Section 17-28-30(B) states:
A person who pled guilty or nolo contendere to at least one of the offenses enumerated in subsection (A), was subsequently convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for the offense, is currently incarcerated for the offense, and asserts he is innocent of the offense may apply for forensic DNA testing of his DNA and any physical evidence or biological material related to his conviction or adjudication no later than seven years from the date of sentencing.
(emphases added). Section 17-28-30(A) states:
A person who pled not guilty to at least one of the following offenses, was subsequently convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for the offense, is currently incarcerated for the offense, and asserts he is innocent of the offense may apply for forensic DNA testing of his DNA and any physical evidence or biological material related to his conviction or adjudication:
(1) murder . ...