Blog

It Should Be Hard for the Prosecution to Convict Someone of Attempted Murder

In State v. King, our Supreme Court rejected prosecutors’ contention that attempted murder is a general intent, rather than a specific intent crime.  This holding, predictably, resulted from our Court’s review of its precedent and the legislative history of the Sentencing Reform Act of 2010. Prosecutors attempted to equate attempted murder to the common law offense […]

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Confrontation Clause vs. Witness’ Privacy

In State v. Blackwell, 420 S.C. 127, 801 S.E.2d 713 (2017), the South Carolina Supreme Court addressed what the Court termed “the novel question of whether a criminal defendant’s constitutional right to confront a witness trumps a witness’s state constitutional right to privacy and statutory privilege to maintain confidential mental health records.”  Our Court recognized, “[T]he majority of jurisdictions […]

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Trial Procedures for Videotaped Child Interviews

In State v. Anderson, 413 S.C. 212, 776 S.E.2d 76 (2015), the South Carolina Supreme Court settled on procedures for admitting, during jury trials, the videotaped child interview conducted as part of the investigation into child sex abuse allegations.  First, outside the presence of the jurors, the trial judge determines whether the interview satisfies the […]

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Confronting Prosecution Strategies in Child Sex Abuse Cases

For decades, the prosecution has utilized a coordinated strategy to investigate and prosecute child sex abuse cases.  Expert testimony to explain a child’s inconsistent behavior and statements is central to the prosecution strategy.  Utilizing this strategy, prosecutors routinely solicited improper opinion evidence from the purported expert.  Our Supreme Court disallowed this practice in a recent […]

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Preview: 2015 Blues, BBQ, & Bar CLE Presenataion

The South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have invited Charles Grose and Chelsea McNeill to speak at the 2015 Blues, BBQ, and Bar CLE on Friday, July 10, 2015.  The prevention, “Defending Child Sex Abuse Cases,” will discuss jury selection, law enforcement interviews of the children, delayed reporting of child sexual abuse, and cross-examining […]

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Lawyers Must Communicate Guilty Plea Offers to Clients

On November 5, 2014, the South Carolina Court of Appeals decided Bell v. State (Opinion No. 5277), holding that Bell’s lawyer was ineffective for not telling him about a guilty plea offer.  In his post-conviction relief (PCR) hearing, Bell testified that he would have pleaded guilty and not have taken a jury to trial, had […]

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SC Supreme Court Enforces Fourth Amendment

In State v. Adams, the South Carolina Supreme Court recognized limits on law enforcement’s ability to track a citizen’s vehicle with a GPS device, set a trap, and search the vehicle for drugs.  In doing so, the Court enforced United States v. Jones, a 2012 Supreme Court of the United States decision holding that “the […]

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Cell Phone Privacy

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Riley v. California, holding that a search warrant is required before the police can search digital information on a cell phone that was seized pursuant to an arrest. Chief Justice Roberts, writing the majority opinion, pointed out the obvious: cell phones “are such a pervasive […]

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State Procedures for Determining Intellectual Disabilities in Death Penalty Cases Must Follow Established Medical Practice

In 2002, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, (2002), holding it violates the Eighth Amendment to execute a person with intellectual disabilities, also know as mental retardation. Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Hall v. Florida, Case No. 12-10882 (May 27, 2014), recognizing […]

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Another Good Circumstantial Evidence Case

On May 28, 2014, the South Carolina Court of Appeals decided State v. Bennett, holding that the trial judge should have directed a verdict of not guilty because the prosecution failed to present substantial circumstantial evidence that would allow the jurors to infer Bennett’s guilt. The State charged Bennett with burglary of a community center […]

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