Opinions from the South Carolina Court of Appeals

 

Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals published three opinions: Reeves v. State, McAlhany v. Carter, and Bolin v. SCDC.

Reeves v. State was a criminal appeal. Reeves was convicted of first degree criminal sexual conduct (“CSC”) with a minor and lewd act upon a child. He appealed the denial of his application for post-conviction relief (“PCR”) arguing that the PCR court erred in finding that his trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to investigate and present testimony of a gynecological expert witness. The Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal finding that trial counsel was deficient because counsel should have discussed hiring a medical expert with Reeves to challenge the state’s medical evidence at trial. Additionally the Court found that Counsel’s ineffectiveness was prejudicial to Reeves.

In McAlhany v. Carter, McAlhany appealed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to Respondents in this negligence action. The McAlhany argued that the trial court erred in finding the statute of limitations barred his property damage and personal injury claims, and in finding that there was no evidence to support his personal injury claim.

On the statute of limitations, the Court found that because McAlhany presented evidence that he did not discover mold in the  house until June 2008 or August 2009, the lawsuit initiation in April 2011 was within the three-year statute of limitations. Additionally, the Court held that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to the personal injury claim because a question of fact existed as to when a reasonable person would have discovered the mold in the home.  Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.

In Bolin v. SCDC, the Court of Appeals reversed a decision by the Administrative Law Court (“ALC”) upholding a determination of the South Carolina Department of Corrections that Bolin must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for release, discharge or community supervision. Bolin appealed arguing that the 85 percent requirement of SC Code Section 24-13-150 does not apply to any of the offenses to which he pled guilty because they are not considered “no-parole offenses.”

Bolin plead guilty to possession of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute, conspiracy to manufacture, and unlawful possession of a pistol. He was sentenced to five years on each drug offence and one year for the weapon offense.

After Bolin began serving his sentence, the Department of Corrections (“DOC”) informed him that he was eligible for parole on his conspiracy conviction and intent to distribute conviction under SC Code Section 44-53-375(B). The DOC told him that if he was not granted parole, these offenses would be treated as no-parole offenses under SC Code Section 24-13-100 and 24-13-150. The latter requires an inmate convicted of a no-parole offense to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for early release, discharge, or community supervision. Subsequently, Bolin filed two  grievances with the DOC  and was denied. The denial was upheld in his appeal to the ALC

The Court reversed the ALC’s decision holding that a second offense under section 44-53-375(B) is no longer a no-parole offense, thus the ALC erred in rejecting Bolin’s interpretation of the statutes in question. 

 

 

 

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