Articles Posted in South Carolina Supreme Court

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This case appeal presented a post-conviction relief (PCR) matter in which Petitioner Gregg Taylor, a Jamaican citizen, pled guilty to a drug offense. Petitioner resided in South Carolina for years with his wife and two children, all three of whom were United States citizens. In plea negotiations, Petitioner's primary concern was whether he would be subject to deportation. Plea counsel viewed Petitioner's grave concern with the prospect of deportation as a "collateral" issue, yet provided general assurances to Petitioner that he would not be deported. As a result, Petitioner pled guilty. The drug offense resulted in Petitioner's deportation, and this PCR application followed. The PCR court denied relief. The South Carolina Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari and reversed: "By focusing on Petitioner's decision-making, it is uncontested that he 'would have rejected any plea leading to deportation.' Because Petitioner's counsel provided deficient representation, we may not avoid a finding of prejudice on the basis of the likelihood of a guilty verdict . . . we are constrained to 'conclude [Petitioner] has demonstrated a 'reasonable probability that, but for [his] counsel's errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial.'" View "Taylor v. South Carolina" on Justia Law

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This case appeal presented a post-conviction relief (PCR) matter in which Petitioner Gregg Taylor, a Jamaican citizen, pled guilty to a drug offense. Petitioner resided in South Carolina for years with his wife and two children, all three of whom were United States citizens. In plea negotiations, Petitioner's primary concern was whether he would be subject to deportation. Plea counsel viewed Petitioner's grave concern with the prospect of deportation as a "collateral" issue, yet provided general assurances to Petitioner that he would not be deported. As a result, Petitioner pled guilty. The drug offense resulted in Petitioner's deportation, and this PCR application followed. The PCR court denied relief. The South Carolina Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari and reversed: "By focusing on Petitioner's decision-making, it is uncontested that he 'would have rejected any plea leading to deportation.' Because Petitioner's counsel provided deficient representation, we may not avoid a finding of prejudice on the basis of the likelihood of a guilty verdict . . . we are constrained to 'conclude [Petitioner] has demonstrated a 'reasonable probability that, but for [his] counsel's errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial.'" View "Taylor v. South Carolina" on Justia Law