Category: Appellate Opinions

Lifetime Registration and Monitoring for Juvenile Sex Offenders

This month the S.C. Supreme Court affirmed the requirement of lifetime sex-offender registration and lifetime electronic monitoring of juveniles who are convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. It’s a horrible case: a 15-year-old boy was accused of forcing oral sex and attempting anal sex with a 5-year-old child. As a consequence, he [..]

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The Limits of Religious Freedom

A heroin dealer’s claim that his charges for distributing heroin to consenting adults violated his religious freedom was denied by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals week before last. The defendant was sentenced to 27 years in federal court in St. Louis, Missouri. Before his trial in St. Louis in 2015, Anderson demanded that the [..]

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Curtilage Revisited – Trafficking Weight Cocaine Suppressed

Last December, I wrote about State v. Bash, where the S.C. Supreme Court thankfully re-affirmed that a police officer cannot enter a person’s yard without a warrant or exigent circumstances in order to search for drugs.  The defendant was charged with trafficking in cocaine > 400 grams and trafficking in crack cocaine 10-28 grams.  The [..]

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When is a Search Warrant Valid?

The short answer is: usually, but you never know until you investigate and challenge it.  In State v. Thompson, the S.C. Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and the trial court, finding that extensive documentation of the defendant’s drug dealings and connection to a particular residence does not constitute probable cause to issue a [..]

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PCR and Habeas Corpus in South Carolina

The S.C. Supreme Court held in In Re Chapman this month that persons committed as Sexually Violent Predators (SVP) have a right to effective assistance of counsel.  Although they cannot file a Post Conviction Relief (PCR) action, they can challenge an SVP commitment collaterally through Habeas proceedings. Post Conviction Relief (PCR) South Carolina has designated [..]

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Stone v. State – PCR – Death Penalty Affirmed

In Stone v. State, four of five S.C. Supreme Court justices affirmed Stone’s death sentence after approving testimony by a surviving widow that she attempted suicide when the Supreme Court had previously overturned Stone’s death sentence and after finding that the jury was never informed that Stone suffered from organic brain damage and intellectual impairment. [..]

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When the Police Do Not Read My Rights to Me . . .

It does not mean that my case gets dismissed.  This is the most common question that I get every week – most people have seen police reading Miranda rights to suspects on television as they are being arrested, and assume that this is a requirement across the board.  It is not required in every arrest, [..]

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Gonzalez v. State – Trafficking in Meth and Conflicts of Interest

In Gonzalez v. State, the S.C. Supreme Court granted post conviction relief (PCR) and vacated Gonzalez’ conviction for trafficking in methamphetamine based on his trial counsel’s conflict of interest.  Gonzalez, a juvenile, was convicted of trafficking in meth 400 grams or more after trial and sentenced to 30 years in prison.  His lawyer simultaneously represented [..]

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