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SC Supreme Court Watch: Update on Implementation of State v. Langford

New concerns arose today about the implementation of State v. Langford, the landmark case that ended solicitor docket control in South Carolina. These concerns center around whether the Judiciary’s historical deference to Solicitors will actually end. On June 12, 2013, a blog post entitled “Constitutional Crisis: General Sessions Court Docket Management” pointed out that “over […]

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Tolling Probation Limited to Violation of Probation Condition or Statutory Directive

On June 19, 2013, in State v. Miller, the South Carolina Supreme Court held that probation is not tolled while a person is involuntarily committed as a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP). In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Donald Beatty, the Court clarified “that tolling probation must be premised on a violation of a condition […]

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Taylor v. State: Tread Carefully When Facing Charges in Multiple Counties

On June 19, 2013, the South Carolina Supreme decided the Post Conviction Relief (PCR) case of Taylor v. State and, in the process, approved a life without parole (LWOP) sentence for a man who would have been better served to resolve all of his charges in multiple counties at the same time. Taylor had charges […]

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Informants in Drug Cases Part Two: Hand-to-Hand Transactions Participants & Witnesses

A reoccurring question is whether a person charged in a drug case has the right to know the identity of the informant used by the police to make the case.  The answer turns, in part, on whether the informant is a “mere tipster” or actually participated in or witnessed a hand-to-hand transaction.  This blog post […]

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Informants in Drug Cases Part One: “Mere Tipsters”

A reoccurring question is whether a person charged in a drug case has the right to know the identity of the informant used by the police to make the case.  The answer turns, in part, on whether the informant is a “mere tipster” or actually participated in a hand-to-hand transaction.  This blog post addresses the […]

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SC Supreme Court Watch: Circumstantial Evidence Jury Instruction

Traditionally, trial court judges followed State v. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888 (1989) when explaining circumstantial evidence to jurors.  In addition to requiring the State to prove every circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt, Edwards required: [A]ll of the circumstances so proven be consistent with each other and taken together, point conclusively to the […]

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United States Supreme Court Authorizes Collection of DNA Sample Following Arrest for Serious Offense

In Maryland v. King, a sharply divided five-to-four opinion decided on June 3, 2013, the United States Supreme Court held: When Officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab for […]

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Constitutional Crisis: General Sessions Court Docket Management

In State v. Langford, decided on November 21, 2012, the South Carolina Supreme Court recognized control of the docket to be a “matter of significant public interest.”  The Court “agree[d] with the Public Defender Association,” appearing as amicus curie  (“friend of the court”), that solicitor docket control “violates the separation of powers [contained in S.C. […]

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South Carolina Supreme Court Weakens DUI Videotape Protections

Section 56-5-2953 of the South Carolina Code of Laws requires “the video recording at the incident site” to begin when the police officer activates the blue lights, “include any field sobriety tests administered,” and show the DUI arrest and Miranda rights advisement.  These protections are so important that a law enforcement agency cannot be “excused […]

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Preview of Upcoming Blog Posts for Blues, Bar-B-Q, and Bar CLE

On Friday, July 12, 2013, the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers will host the 8th Blues, Bar-B-Q, and Bar CLE at the Arts Center at the Federal Building, in Greenwood, South Carolina.  This seminar coincides with the 13th Annual South Carolina Festival of Discovery.  This event is the perfect opportunity for lawyers to […]

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