In The Court of Appeals

Gary Slezak, Appellant,


State of South Carolina, Respondent.

Appeal From Dorchester County
 Diane S. Goodstein, Circuit Court Judge

Unpublished Opinion No. 2008-UP-005
Submitted December 1, 2007 – Filed January 2, 2008      


Gary Slezak, pro se, of Ridgeville, for Appellant.

Deputy General Counsel Barton J. Vincent, of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Gary Slezak, a prisoner serving a life sentence at the South Carolina Department of Corrections for two murders and an armed robbery, appeals the order of the circuit court that dismisses his appeal from a decision of Administrative Law Judge Division.  We affirm. [1]

On May 15, 2000, Slezak filed an inmate grievance with the South Carolina Department of Corrections.  It read as follows:

Request that my work credits be corrected to reflect that I be given credit for my entire sentence of the court on January 18, 1982.  I have not be[en] given work credits and my parole eligibility date is incorrect.  See S.C. Code § 24-21-635 (1981) & State v. Varner, 310 S.C. 264, 265, 423 S.E.2d 133, 134 (1992); Al-Shabazz v. State, Op. No. 24995 (S.C. Sup. Ct. refilled Feb. 14, 2000) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 6 at 21). 

Where the form asked Slezak to describe the action he wanted taken, he responded, “Grant work credits for entire sentence since court sentenced me until present [and] notify parole board of correction.” 

The Department denied Slezak’s grievance after review.  Its decision gave January 26, 1981, as his commitment date, found him not entitled to receive earned work credits because of his life sentence, and listed July 21, 2000, as his parole eligibility date.  Slezak appealed, contending “the controlling date for work credits is . . . the date I was sentenced.”  The Department once again denied Slezak’s grievance on the ground his life sentence precluded him from earning work credits.

The Administrative Law Judge Division thereafter affirmed the Department’s decision and Slezak appealed to the circuit court, contending his initial parole eligibility date was later than it should have been had he received earned work credits.  That court affirmed the order of the Administrative Law Judge Division, finding, among other things, the issue raised by Slezak in his appeal regarding his not being given earned work credits to be moot “[e]ven if [Slezak] was entitled to the work credits.” 

We agree with the circuit court. 

The record shows July 21, 2000, Slezak’s initial parole date as determined by the Department, has long since come and gone.  Moreover, he was denied parole on that date and, apparently, since that time; consequently, the question of whether he should have received a parole hearing at an earlier date because of earned work credits to which he may have been entitled is of no moment.  He proved not to be a candidate for parole in any case.  For us to decide the question of whether the Department wrongfully denied Slezak earned work credits would accomplish nothing and would constitute merely an advisory opinion on our part.  We do not issue advisory opinions.  Dodge v. Dodge, 332 S.C. 401, 420, 505 S.E.2d 344, 354 (Ct. App. 1998).

Slezak also appeals the circuit court’s holding that the Court of General Sessions lacked subject matter jurisdiction at the time he entered his guilty plea.  This issue is manifestly without merit.  State v. Gentry, 363 S.C. 93, 610 S.E.2d 494 (2005); see Rule 220(2), SCACR (“The Court of Appeals need not address a point which is manifestly without merit”).

Finally, Slezak appeals the failure of the circuit court to convert his grievance petition into a post-conviction application.  This issue was neither raised to nor ruled upon by the circuit court and may not now be heard.  See Wilder Corp. v. Wilke, 330 S.C. 71, 76, 497 S.E.2d 731, 333 (1998) (an issue cannot be raised for the first time on appeal, but must have been raised to and ruled upon by the trial judge to be preserved for appellate review).  


Huff and Pieper, JJ. and Goolsby, A.J. concur.

[1]  We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.