Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2010


Post-conviction remedies, South Carolina, Post- Conviction Relief Act


Criminal Law


Post-conviction practice is an important safeguard against unjust, unconstitutional, and erroneous convictions. Despite the importance of the topic, the subject has historically received scant attention from legal commentators. In 1994, "An Introduction to Post-Conviction Remedies, Practice And Procedure in South Carolina" was published. At the time, very little had been written about the post-conviction remedies available to prisoners in South Carolina, and the article was intended to introduce appointed counsel and pro se inmates to the various post-conviction remedies available. In the forty years since its initial enactment, South Carolina's Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) Act was amended three times, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a number of significant rulings relevant to post-conviction practice, and there were a number of federal and state legal developments concerning procedural and substantive aspects of post-conviction practice. And still, this topic remains minimally discussed in South Carolina. Thus, our purpose here is to build upon the initial "Introduction" in the following three ways: (1) explain the statutory amendments to South Carolina's PCR Act that have occurred since 1994; (2) provide an updated discussion of post-conviction practice and procedure in South Carolina; and (3) provide three appendices: Appendix A is a comprehensive list of successful PCR cases in South Carolina under the current statutory scheme (excluding successful ineffective assistance of counsel claims); Appendix B is a summary of all successful ineffective assistance of counsel claims in South Carolina since 1984; and Appendix C provides a set of sample forms, including various applications for postconviction relief, sample motions for discovery, and a sample letter under the Freedom of Information Act.

Part II of this article provides a brief historical overview of post-conviction relief in South Carolina, followed by a similarly brief introduction to South Carolina's current post-conviction relief process in Part III. Then, Parts IV through VIII explain South Carolina's post-conviction relief procedure in detail.

Publication Citation

John H. Blume & Emily C. Paavola, "A Reintroduction: Survival Skills for Post-Conviction Practice in South Carolina", 4 Charleston Law Review (2010)

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