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Category Archives: Criminal Defense

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


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 »

No evidentiary hearing, no problem

By Phillip Bantz, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly Trial judges can skip past full-blown evidentiary hearings and witness testimony and jump right into deciding whether a defendant is entitled to self-defense immunity under South Carolina’s version of the “stand your ground” law, according to a decision that divided the former and current leaders of the state’s Supreme… Read More »

Supreme Court upholds dismissal of murder charge in North Charleston self-defense case

By Andrew Knapp, The Post and Courier The state’s highest court said Wednesday that a North Charleston woman legally used deadly force in 2012 when she fatally stabbed her boyfriend at their home, a ruling that helps clarify how South Carolina’s “stand your ground” law applies to domestic violence. A trial judge in Charleston had dismissed… Read More »

In S.C.’s lowest criminal courts, the poor suffer without attorneys, study by ACLU, lawyers finds

By Andrew Knapp, The Post and Courier Poor defendants in South Carolina are sometimes put on trial without the attorneys they need in the state’s lowest criminal courts, where jail sentences can be short but have long-lasting consequences, legal advocates said in a new study. Others are never told of their Sixth Amendment right to a… Read More »

House panel advances “stand your ground” bill

By Andrew Knapp and Cynthia Roldan, The Post and Courier COLUMBIA — A House panel has advanced a bill that transfers appeals of “stand your ground” hearings directly to the state Supreme Court, and requires prosecutors to prove a defendant’s use of deadly force wasn’t justified. The bill, which passed the House Judiciary Committee on a… Read More »