SC Supreme Court: Pro Se Defendant Gave Up His Right to Counsel

Kenneth Hilton v. State (No. 2015-002140)

Kenneth Lee Hilton appeals the denial of post-conviction relief (PCR) claiming the PCR court did not obtain a knowing and intelligent waiver of his right to counsel before allowing him to represent himself at his PCR trial. The Supreme Court finds that the PCR court obtained a valid waiver of counsel, and affirms.

The court notes that in South Carolina there are two requirements the PCR court must meet before allowing a PCR applicant to proceed without an attorney. First, the court should make sure the applicant is aware of his right to counsel; second, the court should ensure the applicant understands the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation. The Court finds that in the colloquy¬†before Hilton’s PCR trial, the court validly addressed both of these issues.

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