In The Supreme Court
Roger Jones, Respondent,
The State of South
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI
Appeal From Beaufort County
L. Henry McKellar, Judge
Opinion No. 24845
Submitted October 21, 1998 - Filed October 26, 1998
Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Chief Deputy
Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant
Deputy Attorney General Teresa A. Knox, Assistant
Attorney General Matthew M. McGuire, all of
Columbia, for petitioner.
Robert M. Pachak, of South Carolina Office of
Appellate Defense, of Columbia, for respondent.
MOORE, A.J.: We granted the State a writ of certiorari to
review the post-conviction (PCR) judge's grant of relief to respondent. We
Jones v. State
Respondent was indicted in November 1992 for two counts of
first degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor and two counts of
committing a lewd act on a minor. He pled guilty to two counts of second
degree CSC and two counts of committing a lewd act on a minor. He was
sentenced to eighteen years for each CSC count and ten years for each
lewd act count, all to run concurrently. Respondent then filed for PCR
alleging ineffective assistance of counsel on the ground that counsel should
not have advised him to plead guilty because the indictments were
"jurisdictionally defective." The PCR judge granted respondent relief
holding three of the indictments failed to allege subject matter jurisdiction.
He further held that although the fourth indictment properly alleged
subject matter jurisdiction, respondent had been prejudiced in his
sentencing on this count because the trial judge had referred to the other
three counts against respondent.
Did the PCR judge err in finding counsel was
ineffective for advising respondent to plead guilty?
Respondent was indicted for two counts of CSC and two counts
of lewd act. One of the CSC indictments alleged the act occurred on or
about January 1, 1971, in Beaufort County.1 The indictments for lewd act
alleged the acts occurred on or about January 1, 1965, and on or about
January 1, 1963, in Beaufort County.
At the PCR hearing, respondent introduced evidence that he
was stationed in Virginia and North Carolina during this time and did not
move to Beaufort until February 1972. The PCR judge held since
respondent had resided in Virginia and North Carolina during the time
alleged, the court did not have jurisdiction over these offenses. The State
contends the PCR judge erred. We agree.
A defendant who pleads guilty on the advice of counsel may
collaterally attack the plea only by showing that (1) counsel was ineffective
1Respondent does not challenge the other indictment for one count of
CSC which alleges the act occurred on or about January 3, 1973.
Jones v. State
and (2) there is a reasonable probability that but for counsel's errors, the
defendant would not have pled guilty. Wolfe v. State, 326 S.C. 158, 485
S.E.2d 367 (1997); Satterwhite v. State, 325 S.C. 254, 481 S.E.2d 709
As to the place the crime was committed, the statute requires
only that it be sufficiently alleged so as to lay the jurisdiction of the court
and inform the accused of the county in which he is charged with a
violation of the law. State v. McIntire, 221 S.C. 5K 71 S.E.2d 410 (1952).
The State is not required to plead its evidence in the indictment. Id. See
also State v. Fleming, 243 S.C. 265, 133 S.E.2d 800 (1963). Here, the
facts 'alleged in the indictment assert the offenses were committed in
Beaufort County. This is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the law
and confer jurisdiction upon the court in that county to accept
respondent's guilty plea. State v. Thompson, 305 S.C. 496, 409 S.E.2d 420
(Ct. App. 1991).
Furthermore, based upon his finding that the trial judge did
not have subject matter jurisdiction over these charges, the PCR judge
held respondent was prejudiced when the trial judge sentenced him on the
one count which was not challenged. Since we find the PCR judge erred
in finding the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, we find no
prejudice and reverse the grant of a new trial as to the unchallenged
fourth indictment as well as the other three indictments.
FINNEY, C.J., TOAL, WALLER and BURNETT, JJ., concur.