Rollison v. State – Case Brief Summary (South Carolina)

In Rollison v. State, 346 S.C. 506, 552 S.E.2d 290 (2001), the court reversed the granting of post-conviction relief to a defendant who had pleaded guilty to various drug offenses.

The post-conviction court concluded that the defendant was not clearly informed of the charges. Finding that the defendant had knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily agreed to plead guilty to two offenses as part of a bargain where the State would drop three other charges, the Supreme Court stated:

"A defendant may, as part of a plea bargain, agree to plead guilty to a crime for which he has been indicted (or to which he has waived grand jury presentment), but of which he is not guilty. ... For example, we held that an individual could plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter under an indictment charging him with murder, even though the facts would not support such a lesser charge.

"While the post-conviction judge and the defendant refer to the possession charge as 'enhancing' the possession with intent to distribute charge to a second offense, this characterization overlooks the fact that this case involves a plea bargain. As such, the agreement is governed by contract principles, and the defendant was free to negotiate this type of agreement." (552 S.E.2d at 292.)