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Category Archives: Criminal Defense

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 »

Appeal in N. Charleston stabbing may decide how ‘stand your ground’ law applies in domestic killings

By Andrew Knapp, The Post and Courier South Carolina’s “stand your ground” law should not protect someone who kills a romantic partner in self- defense if the deadly confrontation happens in a home they share. The law states that a person is presumed to have a fear of death and can use force if an intruder… Read More »

New expungement law levels the playing field for juvenile offenders

By Cynthia Roldan, The Post and Courier COLUMBIA — Before lawmakers wrapped up an extended legislative session this year, they passed a law with little fanfare that aims to give adults who committed nonviolent crimes as minors a second chance. Drowned out by the end-of-session chaos, the Legislature approved a bill Gov. Nikki Haley signed into… Read More »

How to survive a crazy cop…

In Slager’s Defense

Within hours of the news being picked up by the media, a local attorney publicly announced his commitment to defend Michael Slager, the North Charleston police officer accused of murdering Walter Scott. It took this attorney even less time to abandon his client after the now infamous video was released seemingly contradicting Slager’s initial account and causing a public outcry. Regardless… Read More »