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Category Archives: Criminal Defense

McMaster urging sweeping reforms for SC magistrates

BY JOSEPH CRANNEY, THE POST AND COURIER COLUMBIA — Gov. Henry McMaster on Wednesday urged sweeping changes to the qualifications and oversight of South Carolina magistrates after a joint investigation by The Post and Courier and ProPublica exposed abuse and incompetence among the state’s front-line judges. McMaster pointed to that reporting while dedicating a portion of… Read More »

Wilson, researchers looking for bias in prosecutions

By Brian Hicks, Post and Courier The perception of bias in the criminal justice system is pretty common. In fact, it’s practically a stereotype that, if a white guy gets caught with a joint, he might get a fine … but a black man arrested for possession of the same joint could end up on… Read More »

License to kill

In the May 13 edition of The Post and Courier Brian Hicks refers to the South Carolina citizens arrest statutes as a “license to kill”. These statutes were enacted in 1866. State v. McAteer, 333 S.C. 615 (1999) affirmed that “South Carolina recognizes no common law right of a citizen to arrest, without a warrant,… Read More »

First Amendment (“Cop”) Audits

By J. Brooks Davis I have been following the so called First Amendment or “cop” audit videos with interest for several months. These videos are popular on social media and are generally of a citizen or citizens recording an encounter with law enforcement. Perhaps the most infamous and annoying of these is the “free inhabitant… Read More »

Qualified to judge?

By Joseph Cranney, Post and Courier The trial that upended Sasha Darby’s life lasted just 11 minutes. She had struck her roommate during a spat and found herself charged with assault. Standing alone at the defendant’s table that day, she tried to argue that the attack was self-defense. But Magistrate Rebecca Adams cut her off. “You… Read More »

Municipal courts did not provide required counsel for indigents

By Heath Hamacher, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly Two Lowcountry municipal courts are going to have to defend allegations that they unconstitutionally incarcerated numerous indigent defendants without providing counsel, a federal judge has ruled. In Bairefoot v. City of Beaufort, several plaintiffs state Section 1983 claims for violations of the Sixth Amendment and the equal protection clause… Read More »

Jail population falls, but release of violent re-offenders worries Charleston prosecutor

By Angie Jackson, The Post and Courier A council tasked with local criminal justice reform on Wednesday touted collaborative efforts that officials say have contributed to a “tremendous” drop in the population at the Charleston County jail in recent years. At the same time, Charleston’s top prosecutor expressed concern about repeat violent offenders being released back… Read More »

Know your rights when stopped by police

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/policing/2017/05/15/know-your-rights-when-stopped-police/101562550/

Armed and dangerous, 4th Circuit: Firearm possession ‘objective basis for inferring danger’

By Heath Hamacher, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly A divided panel from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last February held in U.S. v. Shaquille Robinson that just because an individual is armed, “in and of itself,” that does not provide an objective indication of danger and does not justify a frisk under Terry v. Ohio…. Read More »

Study cites due process violations in low-level courts as Charleston officials tout ‘groundbreaking’ improvement

By Andrew Knapp, The Post and Courier In some South Carolina courts that face crushing workloads, many defendants accused of low-level crimes are often judged swiftly without learning about their basic constitutional rights, a study by a national lawyers group revealed. These people usually act as their own attorneys but are rarely informed of the consequences… Read More »