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Mose v. State

Supreme Court of South Carolina

August 16, 2017

Renwick D. Mose, Petitioner,
v.
State of South Carolina, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2015-000609

          Submitted February 9, 2017

         ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

         Appeal From Williamsburg County R. Ferrell Cothran, Jr., Circuit Court Judge

          Appellate Defender Wanda H. Carter, of South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, of Columbia, for Petitioner.

          Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General Julie Amanda Coleman, of Columbia, for Respondent.

          BEATTY, CHIEF JUSTICE

         We granted certiorari to review the dismissal of Renwick Mose's application for Post-Conviction Relief (PCR). Mose contends that, although the Clerk of Court formally stamped his application as "filed" three days after the statute of limitations period ended, he complied with the one-year statute of limitations because he delivered his application to prison authorities for mailing within one year of the date of his conviction.[1] Mose now seeks reversal of the PCR judge's ruling so that he may receive a PCR hearing on the merits of his application. We reverse and remand.

         I. Factual / Procedural History

         On March 7, 2013, Mose pled guilty to the lesser-included offense of burglary in the second degree and as indicted for assault and battery in the first degree, pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970). The plea judge sentenced Mose to twelve years' imprisonment for burglary and ten years' imprisonment for assault and battery, to be served concurrently. Mose did not appeal his guilty plea or sentences.

         In a PCR application, dated February 18, 2014, Mose alleged that he was denied due process, effective assistance of counsel, and his right to a speedy trial. The Verification and Application to Proceed Without Payment of Costs both indicate they were sworn to and subscribed before a notary public on February 18, 2014. However, Mose's PCR application was stamped "filed" by the Williamsburg County Clerk of Court on March 10, 2014.

         The State filed a Return and moved to dismiss Mose's PCR application, arguing that the application was barred by the one-year statute of limitations as provided by section 17-27-45(A) of the South Carolina Code (2014). By order dated October 1, 2014, the PCR judge issued a Conditional Order of Dismissal, which allowed Mose twenty days to submit factual or legal reasons why his application should not be dismissed.

         Mose filed a response in which he maintained he placed the PCR application in the prison mailbox on February 18, 2014, the day the PCR application was notarized. Mose asserted the application was deemed "filed" at the time it was mailed pursuant to the "prison mailbox rule" as enunciated in Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988). Mose also attached an affidavit in which he stated an associate warden at the prison investigated the date Mose submitted his PCR application and discovered the application was mailed on February 18, 2014, and the envelope used to mail the application contained the same date.[2]

         By order dated February 5, 2015, the PCR judge summarily dismissed Mose's PCR application, finding Mose filed it outside of the one-year statute of limitations.

         II. Standard of Review

         In PCR actions, the burden of proof is on the applicant. Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813 (1985). "This Court gives great deference to the factual findings of the PCR court and will uphold them if there is any evidence of probative value to support them." Sellner v. State, 416 S.C. 606, 610, 787 S.E.2d 525, 527 (2016). "Questions of law are reviewed de novo, and ...


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