Submitted April 19, 2018
from Berkeley County Kristi Lea Harrington, Plea Court Judge
Jean Hoefer Toal, Post-Conviction Relief Judge
Appellate Defender Laura Ruth Baer, of Columbia, for
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney
General Rasheeda Cleveland, both of Columbia, for Respondent.
Brown Jr. filed a petition for a writ of certiorari seeking
appellate review of an order granting summary judgment to the
State in his application for post-conviction relief (PCR).
The PCR court dismissed the action on the ground Brown had
completed serving his sentence and did not allege he was
suffering collateral consequences of the conviction. We grant
the petition, dispense with briefing, reverse, and remand to
the PCR court for a hearing on the merits.
pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana
(PWID) on May 20, 2014, and the court sentenced him to three
years in prison. At the time of his plea, Brown was already
serving a ten-year sentence for trafficking in cocaine. The
PWID sentence began on June 25, 2013, due to credit for time
served, and was imposed concurrent to the ten-year sentence.
Brown did not appeal.
filed an application for PCR on November 20, 2014. No hearing
was held until September 16, 2016. By then, Brown had
completed his PWID sentence, although he remained incarcerated
on the ten-year sentence. At the PCR hearing, the State made
a motion for summary judgment, arguing Brown's claim was
moot because he had already completed his PWID sentence. The
PCR court granted the State's motion for summary
judgment, and dismissed the PCR application. We find the
circuit court erred.
relief is a statutory remedy in South Carolina. See
S.C. Code Ann. §§ 17-27-10 to -160 (2014 &
Supp. 2017) (Post-Conviction Procedure Act). Therefore, we
begin our analysis with the text of the Act, which provides,
Any person who has been convicted of, or sentenced for, a
crime and who claims:
(1) That the conviction or the sentence was in violation of
the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution or
laws of this State;
. . . .
may institute . . . a proceeding under this chapter to secure