Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1994


Post-conviction remedies in South Carolina, Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act, UPCA, State habeas corpus, White v. State, After-discovered evidence, Capital punishment


Criminal Procedure


The purpose of this article is to discuss various aspects of an inmate's available post-conviction remedies in South Carolina. Very little has been written about this topic, perhaps because post-conviction is considered by many to be the "redheaded stepchild of the legal system." Despite the importance of post-conviction remedies as a safeguard against unjust, unconstitutional, and erroneous confinements, this systemic devaluing of the importance of the post-conviction process is widespread. Convicted persons in South Carolina raising post-conviction challenges rely almost exclusively on appointed counsel, most of whom have little experience in this area of the law. Counsels' enthusiasm for the cases also varies widely, but many appointed lawyers devote little time to investigating available grounds for relief and in preparing the cases for trial. This is especially unfortunate because, in most cases, the state post-conviction process will be the inmate's last chance to raise any additional challenges to his conviction or sentence. This article will outline the law, practice, and procedure surrounding the pursuit of post- conviction remedies in South Carolina. While a systematic discussion of the tactical considerations that play a critical role in successful post-conviction representation is beyond the scope of the article, it will address some of these concerns. Similarly, this article will not attempt a detailed discussion of the panoply of substantive claims that one can raise in post-conviction proceedings. Rather, this article is written primarily to give to lawyers representing inmates seeking post-conviction relief, and to provide inmates proceeding pro se, an overview of the mechanisms of the various post-conviction remedies available in South Carolina. The information should also prove useful to members of the judiciary, their clerks, and others involved directly or indirectly in this aspect of the judicial process.

Publication Citation

Published in: South Carolina Law Review, vol. 45, no. 2 (Winter 1994).