Davis Adv. Sh. No. 3
THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court
Jack Simpson, #168120, Appellant,
State of South
General, Warden Ricky
Appeal From Chester County
Don S. Rushing, Judge
Opinion No. 24738
Heard January 22, 1997 - Filed January 12, 1998
Assistant Appellate Defender Lisa T. Gregory of
South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, of
Columbia, for appellant.
Attorney General Charles Molony Condon, Deputy
Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant
Deputy Attorney General Teresa A. Knox, and
Assistant Attorney General Barbara M. Tiffin, all of
Columbia, for respondents.
PER CURIAM: Appellant Jack Simpson pled guilty to second
degree arson and entered guilty but mentally ill pleas, pursuant to North
Carolina v. Alford,1 to first degree burglary, assault with intent to kill, and
possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Appellant did not appeal his pleas.
Thereafter, appellant filed an application for post-conviction
relief (PCR). The PCR judge granted the application and vacated
appellant's burglary conviction. The State appealed, and this Court
reversed. Simpson v. State, 371 S.C. 506, 455 S.E.2d 175 (1995).
Appellant next filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in
this Court's original jurisdiction which was dismissed pursuant to Key v.
Currie.2 Appellant then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the
circuit court. The circuit court judge granted the State's motion to dismiss
the petition on the ground that habeas corpus may not be used as a
substitute for an action under the Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act.
Appellant asserts the ruling of the circuit judge was erroneous. We
At common law, the writ of habeas corpus was available after
conviction only to attack the jurisdiction of the court that had imposed
sentence. The rule was stated as follows:
2 305 S.C. 115, 406 S.E.2d 356 (1991).
Ex Parte Klugh, 132 S.C. 199, 128 S.E. 882 (1925)(citations omitted). The
use of the writ to inquire into the legality of a conviction was, however,
greatly expanded in this State in the late 1950's and 1960's, apparently in
response to decisions of the United States Supreme Court related to
whether state procedures for providing relief for violations of constitutional
rights were adequate to meet the exhaustion requirement for federal
habeas corpus. See Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, 83 S.Ct. 745, 9
L.Ed.2d 770 (1963); Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443, 73 S.Ct. 397, 97 L.Ed.
469 (1953); Young v. Ragen, 337 U.S. 235, 69 S.Ct. 1073, 93 L.Ed. 1333
(1949). See also Case v. Nebraska, 381 U.S. 336, 85 S.Ct. 1486, 14
L.Ed.2d 422 (1965). In South Carolina, the number of reported opinions in
appeals in habeas matters increased from approximately fourteen in the
twenty years from 1930 to 1950 to approximately 70 in the years from
1950 to 1970.
In 1966, the Commissioners on Uniform State Laws
promulgated the Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act (Uniform Act).
The Comment to the Uniform Act states that the Uniform Act was
written, in part, "to bring together and consolidate into one simple statute
all the remedies, beyond those that are incident to the usual procedures of
trial and [appellate] review, which are at present available for challenging
the validity of a sentence of imprisonment." Uniform Post-Conviction
Procedure Act (1966) (U.L.A.) § 1 Comment. The Uniform Act
encompassed the relief available under the common law writ of habeas
corpus, the relief available under the expansion of the writ, and the relief
available by collateral attack under any common law, statutory or other
writ, motion, petition, proceeding, or remedy. Id. § l(a)(6). South
Carolina adopted its version of the Uniform Act in 1969. S.C. Code Ann. §
17-27-10 to -1203 (the Act).
Section 17-27-20(b) states that the Act "comprehends and takes
the place of all other common law, statutory or other remedies heretofore
available for challenging the validity of the conviction or sentence," and
provides the Act "shall be used exclusively in place of them." We
acknowledge we have stated that habeas corpus is available once the
petitioner has exhausted all post-conviction remedies. Hunter v. State,
316 S.C. 105, 447 S.E.2d 203 (1994); Pennington v. State, 312 S.C. 436,
441 S.E.2d 315 (1994); Slack v. State, 311 S.C. 415, 429 S.E.2d 801 (1993).
In Tyler v. State, 247 S.C. 34, 145 S.E.2d 434 (1965), however, this Court
stated that habeas corpus cannot be used as a substitute for appeal or
other remedial procedure for the correction of errors for which a criminal
defendant had an opportunity to avail himself. Because we believe the
rule in Tyler is the appropriate rule, we now hold that a matter which is
cognizable under the Act may not be raised by a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus before the circuit or other lower courts.4 See Gibson v.
State, Op. No. 24737 (S.C. filed, January 12, 1998).
We are not unaware of art. 1, § 18 of the South Carolina
Constitution which states that the writ of habeas corpus may not be
suspended except when, in case of insurrection, rebellion or invasion, the
public safety may require it. However, our action today does not suspend
the writ, but merely curtails its use to those situations where the Act
would not be applicable. Tyler v. State, supra.
In this case, the allegations raised in appellant's habeas corpus
petition clearly are cognizable under the Uniform Act. Accordingly, the
PCR judge properly dismissed the petition.
in ways not relevant to this appeal.
4 Under art. V, § 5 of the South Carolina Constitution, this Court
retains the ability to entertain writs of habeas corpus in our original
jurisdiction and grant relief in those unusual instances where "there has
been a violation which, in the setting, constitutes a denial of fundamental
fairness shocking to the universal sense of justice." Butler v. State, 302
S.C. 466, 397 S.E.2d 87,(1990); see also Simmons v. State, __S.C.__,
471 S.E.2d 455 (1992); Key v. Currie, supra (this Court will exercise its
original jurisdiction where there is an extraordinary reason such as a
question of significant public interest or an emergency).