Category: Violent Crimes

Cross Examination Using Mental Health Records

Does the defense have the right to cross-examine a state’s witness with their mental health records? It depends. In State v. Blackwell, a death penalty appeal decided by the South Carolina Supreme Court last week, the Court directly addressed this issue for the first time. The Court’s opinion contained a misplaced emphasis on statutory protections [..]

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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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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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Manslaughter and Drug Overdoses

A pre-filed bill in the South Carolina legislature would spell out that the offense of involuntary manslaughter applies to drug dealers whose customers die from an overdose, and it would increase the penalty for involuntary manslaughter from a maximum of five years to a maximum of 15 years in prison.  The bill would add the [..]

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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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