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In the Matter of Care and Treatment of Edwards v State Law Enforcement Division

12-28-2011 South Carolina:

In the Matter of Care and Treatment of Edwards v State Law Enforcement Division
(395 S.C. 571 (2011)

State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) (Appellant), appeals the circuit court order relieving Jeremy Lane Edwards (Respondent) from the sex offender registration requirements of section 23-3-430 of the South Carolina Code. We affirm.

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In 1998, Respondent pled guilty to two counts of "Peeping Tom," pursuant to section 16-17-470 of the South Carolina Code.1 Respondent served a probationary sentence including one hundred hours of community service. In 2004, Respondent received a pardon from the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services (SCDPPPS). In 2009, Respondent filed petitions with the Horry, Greenville, and Florence County solicitors requesting that the circuit court issue an order mandating that he was no longer required to register as a sex offender. The Horry and Greenville County solicitors did not object to the petition. The Florence County solicitor could not respond to the petition, due to a conflict, and referred the case to the South Carolina Attorney General.

The Attorney General opposed the petition, and asserted that Respondent's pardon did not relieve him from the requirement that he register as a sex offender. The Attorney General argued that the amendments to section 23-3-430 were remedial and procedural in nature, and thus applied retroactively to Respondent's case. The circuit court disagreed, and ruled that the 2004 pardon relieved Respondent from the registration requirements of section 23-3-430, and that the 2005 and 2008 amendments did not apply retroactively.

ISSUES
The parties raise three issues on appeal:
I. Whether the 2004 pardon relieved Respondent of the registration requirements of section 23-3-430 of the South Carolina Code.

II. Whether the amendments to section 23-3-430 clarified rather than changed the law requiring pardoned sex offenders to comply with the statute's registration requirements.

III. Whether the amendments to section 23-3-430 are procedural or remedial in nature, and therefore, apply retroactively.

CONCLUSION
Respondent's 2004 pardon relieved him of all consequences of his conviction for the foregoing reasons. The General Assembly's 2005 and 2008 amendments to section 23-3-430 of the South Carolina Code cannot be applied retroactively to Respondent's case. Thus, we affirm the circuit court's order relieving Respondent of the requirement to register as a sex offender. AFFIRMED.

How to apply for a Pardon

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