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2011-UP-497 - Medlock 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 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

 

Cookie Tracey Medlock, Petitioner,

v.

State of South Carolina, Respondent.


Appeal from Horry County
James E. Lockemy, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-497
Heard October 3, 2011 – Filed November 7, 2011   


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender M. Celia Robinson and Appellate Defender Dayne C. Phillips, both of Columbia, for Petitioner.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Assistant Attorney General Christina J. Catoe, all of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Cookie Tracey Medlock pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and was sentenced to nineteen years' imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  Medlock appeals the PCR court's order denying her application for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.  Specifically, Medlock argues that counsel's deficient performance resulted in her receiving an unduly harsh sentence.  We affirm.

We hold the PCR court properly denied Medlock's application for post-conviction relief.  In order to establish a claim for ineffective assistance of guilty plea counsel, a PCR applicant must prove: (1) counsel's performance was deficient; and (2) the deficient performance prejudiced the applicant's case.  Stalk v. State, 383 S.C. 559, 560-61, 681 S.E.2d 592, 593 (2009).  "[I]n order to satisfy the 'prejudice' requirement, the defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial."  Id. at 562, 681 S.E.2d at 594.

Even if Medlock had proven counsel's performance was deficient, she failed to meet her burden to establish prejudice. During the PCR hearing, Medlock testified she decided to plead guilty because she did leave the scene of the accident.  Further, she acknowledged five of the six charges against her were dropped as part of the plea negotiation.  In addition, counsel testified Medlock told him she did not wish to put the families of the victims through a trial.  At no time during the PCR hearing did Medlock counter counsel's testimony.  Significantly, Medlock did not testify she would not have pled guilty absent the purported errors made by counsel. See Smith v. State, 369 S.C. 135, 138-39, 631 S.E.2d 260, 261-62 (2006) (stating where a PCR applicant fails to testify that he would have gone to trial instead of pleading guilty, he cannot meet his burden to show prejudice). Therefore, Medlock failed to prove that any deficient performance by plea counsel prejudiced her case. 

AFFIRMED.

SHORT, WILLIAMS, AND GEATHERS, JJ., concur.