Category: Prosecutorial Misconduct

Errors in South Carolina Crime Labs

An audit of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s (SLED) crime has revealed flawed examinations of gunshot residue samples over a period of a year and a half. The errors were found in 34 shooting cases in 13 different judicial districts and include samples tested in police officer Michael Slager’s North Charleston murder of unarmed [..]

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Forensic Sciences – Search for Truth or Prosecution Tool?

After a decade or so of progress in identifying and acknowledging the huge problems with forensic science used to obtain convictions in our nation’s courtrooms, Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month disbanded the nonpartisan National Commission on Forensic Science and announced that the department would no longer review closed cases for inaccurate or unsupported statements [..]

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The Largest Mass Dismissal of Cases in the History of the United States

Before she crashed and burned, Annie Dookhan was a superhero at the Massachusetts state crime lab. She processed and tested drug samples three times as fast as her colleagues and assisted in obtaining convictions in thousands of cases involving an estimated 40,000 drug samples. An audit performed in 2010 found that she was working unusually [..]

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Curtilage – Can a Police Officer Search Your Yard Without a Warrant?

In State v. Bash, a unanimous S.C. Supreme Court upheld the circuit court’s suppression of powder and crack cocaine based on the officers’ unconstitutional search of the defendant’s yard without consent or a warrant.  An officer testified at trial that “one of the agents . . . received . . . a phone call stating [..]

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Earley v. State – When is it Ok for the Prosecutor to Withhold Discovery?

In Earley v. State, decided October 19, 2016, the S.C. Supreme Court found that where the prosecutor withheld a Defendant’s statement until he was on the witness stand, it did not warrant granting PCR to the defendant.  The defendant wrote “see ya” on the alleged victim’s Facebook page prior to trial, the prosecutor obtained the [..]

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State v. Rearick – Felony DUI

In State v. Rearick, decided August 17, 2016, the S.C. Supreme Court demonstrated how appellate courts help trial courts help incompetent prosecutors obtain convictions.  Rearick was charged with felony DUI (driving under the influence) resulting in death.  When it became obvious that the state’s case was falling apart, the trial judge declared a mistrial.  Rearick [..]

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