Decisions from the South Carolina Supreme Court

scsctOn Wednesday, October 22nd, the Supreme Court of South Carolina issued three opinions:  Jamison v. State, AJG Holdings v. Dunn, and S.C. Energy Users Committee v. SCE&G.

In AJG Holdings v. Dunn, the Court affirmed the South Carolina Court of Appeals decision regarding developer deed restrictions.  It upheld the lower court’s decision  pursuant to SCACR Rule 220(b)(1) and four cases:  Queen’s Grant II Horizontal Prop. Regime v. Greenwood Dev. Corp., McLeod v. Baptiste, Armstrong v. Roberts, and Richmond v. Pennscott Buildings, Inc.

In South Carolina Energy Users Comm. v. South Carolina Electric & Gas, the Court affirmed the decision of the Public Service Commission (PSC.)  In 2012, SCE&G asked the PSC for a base load review order to approve updates to the capital costs and construction schedules that were initially requested in its 2009 request for a project that involved “…the construction of two 1,117 net megawatt nuclear units in connection with the construction of a nuclear power plant at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station located near Jenkinsville, South Carolina.”  The PSC held a public hearing and later approved the cost increases.

The Respondent objected and filed a petition for rehearing which the PSC denied.  Respondent then filed with the Supreme Court of South Carolina.  According to the Court, it faced three issues:

1)  “Whether the Commission erred by applying the wrong section, and therefore the wrong standard, of the BLRA?

2)  Whether the Commission erred in holding that a prudency evaluation of the need for the continued construction of the units is not required under the BLRA?

3)  Whether the evidence supports the Commission’s finding that the additional capital costs were prudent under the BLRA?”

The Court concluded that the Commission did not err, agreeing that “…Appellants failed to demonstrate that the factual findings are unsupported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence in the record.”

Jamison v. State involved an appeal regarding post conviction relief.  Jamison pled guilty to a charge of voluntary manslaughter after firing a gun into a crowd, killing a bystander.

Jamison filed a Post Conviction Relief (PCR) petition, alleging that his guilty plea was not “…knowingly and voluntarily entered.”  The judge denied Jamison’s first petition.

Jamison then filed a second Post Conviction Relief (PCR) petition, shortly thereafter, claiming newly discovered evidence  He discovered the existence of a witness who was willing to testify that Jamison had been defending himself when he fired into the crowd, i.e.self defense existed.   The judge then ordered post conviction relief on the basis of “fundamental fairness” and a new trial.  The State appealed but the PCR relief was upheld by the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

Applying the South Carolina Uniform Post Conviction Relief Act (S.C. Code of Laws Sections 17-27-10 through 17-27-160), the Supreme Court, with a dissent, reversed.  The Curt held that “…when a PCR applicant seeks relief on the basis of newly discovered evidence following a guilty plea, relief is appropriate only where the applicant presents evidence showing that (1) the newly discovered evidence was discovered after the entry of the pleas and, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered prior to the entry of the plea; and (2) the newly discovered evidence is of such a weight and quality that, under the facts and circumstances of that particular case, the ‘interest of justice’ requires the applicant’s guilty plea to be vacated.”

About Lisa Smith-Butler

Associate Professor of Law Charleston School of Law 385 Meeting St., Suite 322B Charleston, S.C. 29403 843.377.2144
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