Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
2006-MO-026 - Newsome v. State

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court


Buddy Newsome, Petitioner,

v.

State of South Carolina, Respondent.


ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI


Appeal from Pickens County
 John C. Few, Post Conviction Relief Judge


Memorandum Opinion No. 2006-MO-026
Reheard November 1, 2007 – Refiled February 4, 2008


DISMISSED


Chief Appellate Defender Joseph L. Savitz, III, of South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, Division of Appellate Defense, of Columbia, for Petitioner.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Assistant Attorney General Karen C. Ratigan, all of Columbia, for Respondent.


PER CURIAM:  We previously granted certiorari to determine whether the post-conviction relief (PCR) court erred by granting Petitioner a new trial on the grounds that the Department of Corrections was incorrectly treating Petitioner as if he were ineligible for parole.  We affirmed the PCR court’s decision in an unpublished opinion.  See Newsome v. State, Op. No. 2006-MO-026 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed July, 17 2006).  We granted the State’s request for rehearing, directed the parties to brief certain issues on rehearing, and we find that the appeal should be dismissed as moot.

Factual/Procedural Background

Petitioner pled guilty to homicide by child abuse and attempted escape. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to imprisonment for 100 years on the homicide by child abuse charge, and one year imprisonment for the escape charge.  The court did not state whether the sentences were to be concurrent or consecutive.

In seeking PCR, Petitioner claimed that his sentences should be served concurrently so that the Department of Corrections would consider him to be eligible for parole.  The PCR court granted relief, and the State sought review on certiorari in this Court.  This Court affirmed the PCR court’s grant of relief, but ordered that Petitioner be given a new trial because the PCR court did not have the authority to order the Department of Corrections to interpret Petitioner’s sentences as concurrent.  Newsome v. State, Op. No. 2006-MO-026 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed July, 17 2006).  This Court granted the State’s request that the Court rehear the matter, and the Court further directed the parties to brief the following issue:

Assuming that the sentences in this case are consecutive, did this have any impact on Petitioner’s parole eligibility?[1]

Law/Analysis

Petitioner testified at his second PCR hearing that he would not have pled guilty had he known he would not be eligible for parole.  The record on rehearing, however, reveals that the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services has been treating Petitioner as eligible for parole for some time, and that Petitioner has had several parole hearings.  Thus, Petitioner has received his requested relief.

Because Petitioner is being treated as eligible for parole, the appeal is dismissed as moot.  See Mathis v. South Carolina State Highway Dep’t, 260 S.C. 344, 195 S.E.2d 713 (1973) (case becomes moot when judgment, if rendered, will have no practical legal effect upon existing controversy; this is true when some event occurs making it impossible for reviewing court to grant effectual relief).  Our finding that the appeal should be dismissed as moot makes it unnecessary to address the issues we previously ordered the parties to brief.  Cf. Whiteside v. Cherokee County Sch. Dist. No. One, 311 S.C. 335, 428 S.E.2d 886 (1993) (appellate court need not address remaining issue when resolution of prior issue is dispositive).

TOAL, C.J., WALLER, BEATTY, JJ., and Acting Justices E. C. Burnett, III and Alexander S. Macaulay, concur.


[1] Although we asked the parties to brief three specific issues on rehearing, the resolution of this case calls for this Court to focus only on this single issue.