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24845 - Jones v. State

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










THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court

Roger Jones, Respondent,

v.

The State of South

Carolina, Petitioner.



ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI



Appeal From Beaufort County

L. Henry McKellar, Judge

Opinion No. 24845

Submitted October 21, 1998 - Filed October 26, 1998

REVERSED



Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Chief Deputy

Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant

Deputy Attorney General Teresa A. Knox, Assistant

Attorney General Matthew M. McGuire, all of

Columbia, for petitioner.



Robert M. Pachak, of South Carolina Office of

Appellate Defense, of Columbia, for respondent.




MOORE, A.J.: We granted the State a writ of certiorari to

review the post-conviction (PCR) judge's grant of relief to respondent. We

reverse.





FACTS

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Jones v. State





Respondent was indicted in November 1992 for two counts of

first degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor and two counts of

committing a lewd act on a minor. He pled guilty to two counts of second

degree CSC and two counts of committing a lewd act on a minor. He was

sentenced to eighteen years for each CSC count and ten years for each

lewd act count, all to run concurrently. Respondent then filed for PCR

alleging ineffective assistance of counsel on the ground that counsel should

not have advised him to plead guilty because the indictments were

"jurisdictionally defective." The PCR judge granted respondent relief

holding three of the indictments failed to allege subject matter jurisdiction.

He further held that although the fourth indictment properly alleged

subject matter jurisdiction, respondent had been prejudiced in his

sentencing on this count because the trial judge had referred to the other

three counts against respondent.





ISSUE





Did the PCR judge err in finding counsel was

ineffective for advising respondent to plead guilty?





Discussion





Respondent was indicted for two counts of CSC and two counts

of lewd act. One of the CSC indictments alleged the act occurred on or

about January 1, 1971, in Beaufort County.1 The indictments for lewd act

alleged the acts occurred on or about January 1, 1965, and on or about

January 1, 1963, in Beaufort County.





At the PCR hearing, respondent introduced evidence that he

was stationed in Virginia and North Carolina during this time and did not

move to Beaufort until February 1972. The PCR judge held since

respondent had resided in Virginia and North Carolina during the time

alleged, the court did not have jurisdiction over these offenses. The State

contends the PCR judge erred. We agree.





A defendant who pleads guilty on the advice of counsel may

collaterally attack the plea only by showing that (1) counsel was ineffective



1Respondent does not challenge the other indictment for one count of

CSC which alleges the act occurred on or about January 3, 1973.

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Jones v. State





and (2) there is a reasonable probability that but for counsel's errors, the

defendant would not have pled guilty. Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 485

S.E.2d 367 (1997); Satterwhite v. State, 325 S.C. 254, 481 S.E.2d 709

(1997).





As to the place the crime was committed, the statute requires

only that it be sufficiently alleged so as to lay the jurisdiction of the court

and inform the accused of the county in which he is charged with a

violation of the law. State v. McIntire, 221 S.C. 5K 71 S.E.2d 410 (1952).

The State is not required to plead its evidence in the indictment. Id. See

also State v. Fleming, 243 S.C. 265, 133 S.E.2d 800 (1963). Here, the

facts 'alleged in the indictment assert the offenses were committed in

Beaufort County. This is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the law

and confer jurisdiction upon the court in that county to accept

respondent's guilty plea. State v. Thompson, 305 S.C. 496, 409 S.E.2d 420

(Ct. App. 1991).





Furthermore, based upon his finding that the trial judge did

not have subject matter jurisdiction over these charges, the PCR judge

held respondent was prejudiced when the trial judge sentenced him on the

one count which was not challenged. Since we find the PCR judge erred

in finding the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, we find no

prejudice and reverse the grant of a new trial as to the unchallenged

fourth indictment as well as the other three indictments.

REVERSED.

FINNEY, C.J., TOAL, WALLER and BURNETT, JJ., concur.







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