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2010-UP-329 - State v. Kearse

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE. IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

The State, Respondent,

v.

Cedric Kearse, Appellant.


Appeal From Orangeburg County
Kristi Lea Harrington, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2010-UP-329
Submitted June 1, 2010 – Filed June 28, 2010


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender Lanelle Cantey Durant, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Assistant Attorney General William M. Blitch, Jr., all of Columbia; Solicitor David M. Pascoe, Jr., of Summerville, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Cedric Kearse appeals his conviction for trafficking in cocaine–second offense, possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine–second offense, and failure to stop for a blue light.  He argues the plea court erred in: (1) denying his motion to relieve counsel; and (2) accepting his guilty plea because it was not knowingly and voluntarily entered into.  We affirm.[1]          

1.  As to whether the plea court erred in denying Kearse's motion to relieve counsel:  The plea court conducted a sufficient inquiry into the basis of Kearse's complaints against plea counsel.  Although Kearse believed he did not have adequate time to speak with plea counsel and felt pressed to proceed to trial, none of his objections prevented him from communicating with his attorney or precluded plea counsel from adequately defending him.  The plea court also inquired regarding plea counsel's preparations for trial, and determined plea counsel was prepared to go forward with the case.  Accordingly, the plea court did not abuse its discretion in denying Kearse's motion to relieve counsel.  See State v. Childers, 373 S.C. 367, 372, 645 S.E.2d 233, 235 (2007) ("A motion to relieve counsel is addressed to the discretion of the trial judge and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion."); State v. Sims, 304 S.C. 409, 414, 405 S.E.2d 377, 380 (1991) (holding an appellate court may consider several factors in determining whether the trial court abused its discretion in a motion for substitution of counsel: timeliness of the motion, adequacy of the trial judge's inquiry into the defendant's complaint, and whether the attorney-client conflict was so great that it resulted in a total lack of communication, thereby preventing an adequate defense).     

2.  As to whether the plea court erred in accepting his guilty plea because it was not knowingly and voluntarily entered into:  This issue is not preserved for our review because Kearse failed to object during the guilty plea.  See State v. McKinney, 278 S.C. 107, 108, 292 S.E.2d 598, 599 (1982) (holding the voluntariness of a guilty plea must be raised by objection to the trial court in order to be preserved for appeal).

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., THOMAS, and PIEPER, JJ., concur.


[1]  We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.