Category: PCR – Post Conviction Relief

Forensic Interviewers Cannot Testify as to a Child’s Truthfulness

In State v. Briggs, a post-conviction relief (PCR) appeal that was published yesterday, the S.C. Supreme Court reversed a defendant’s convictions for criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor and lewd act on a minor based on his attorney’s failure to object when the state’s forensic interviewer improperly bolstered the credibility of the child witness. [..]

Read More

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 [..]

Read More

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 [..]

Read More

South Carolina’s Unconstitutional Summary Courts

In April of 2016, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report, entitled Summary Injustice: A Look at Constitutional Deficiencies in South Carolina’s Summary Courts, detailing the constitutional deficiencies in South Carolina’s summary courts. In January 2017, they released a follow-up report, entitled Rush to [..]

Read More

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 [..]

Read More

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. [..]

Read More

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 [..]

Read More

Is a Severely Mentally Retarded Defendant Competent to Stand Trial?

In Ramirez v. State, a severely mentally retarded defendant with an IQ level between 31 and 44 was granted post conviction relief (PCR) because his attorney did not request an independent competency evaluation prior to the defendant’s guilty plea.  The PCR Court denied relief, finding that plea counsel’s performance was not deficient and there was [..]

Read More