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24820 - Ronnie L. Phillips v. State

Davis Adv. Sh. No. 26
S.E. 2d

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court



Ronnie L. Phillips, Respondent,

v.

State of South Carolina, Petitioner.





ORDER





It is ordered that the opinion heretofore filed in this case,

Opinion No. 24820, filed July 20, 1998, be withdrawn and the attached

opinion substituted.





AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

______________________________C.J.

For the Court

Columbia, South Carolina BURNETT, A.J., not participating

August 17, 1998













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THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court





Ronnie L. Phillips, Respondent,

v.

State of South Carolina, Petitioner.



ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI





Appeal From Greenville County

Thomas L. Hughston, Jr., Post-Conviction Judge

Frank Eppes, Jr.. Trial Judge





Opinion No. 24820

Submitted May 27, 1998 - Filed July 20, 1998

Refiled August 17, 1998





REVERSED





Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Deputy

Attorney General John W. McIntosh, and Assistant

Deputy Attorney General Teresa A. Knox, all of

Columbia, for petitioner.





Wanda H. Haile, of South Carolina Office of

Appellate Defense, of Columbia, for respondent.





FINNEY, C.J.: In this post-conviction relief (PCR) action, the

circuit court granted respondent relief, finding the application of a statute

denying respondent parole eligibility violated his ex post facto rights. The

Court granted the State's petition for a writ of certiorari. We reverse.



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PHILLIPS v. STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In 1986 and 1987, respondent committed numerous crimes,

including first degree burglaries. He ultimately pled guilty in 1987 to

several charges, including four counts of first degree burglary, all

committed after June 3, 1986. Respondent had a 1982 conviction for

armed robbery. The Legislature enacted South Carolina Code Ann. § 16-1-

60, which took effect June 3, 1986. Under this statute, both first degree

burglary and armed robbery were defined as violent crimes. The parole

eligibility statute denied parole to those "serving a sentence for a second

or subsequent conviction, for violent crimes ....... S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-

640 (Supp. 1997).1





Respondent brought this PCR action, alleging his ex post facto

rights were violated when, as the result of the enactment of §] 6-1-60, his

1982 armed robbery conviction was used to deny him parole eligibility on

his 1987 burglary pleas.2 It is not a violation of the ex post facto clause

for the legislature to enhance punishment for a later offense based on a

prior conviction, even though the enhancement provision was not in effect

at the time of the prior offense. State v. Dabney, 301 S.C. 271, 391 S.E.2d

563 (1990). Accordingly, the order granting respondent post-conviction

relief is





REVERSED.



TOAL, MOORE and WALLER, JJ., concur. BURNETT, A.J., not

participating.




1 The relevant language has not been altered in the statutory

amendments made between 1986 and 1997.





2 We note that between 1993 and 1995, § 16-1-60 was amended to

provide it had prospective effect only. We express no opinion on the

impact of this language on persons committing offenses during this period.

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