SC

A “Queen Jean” Scheme?

IS A CORRUPT BARGAIN IN THE WORKS TO EXTEND S.C. CHIEF JUSTICE’S REIGN? S.C. Chief Justice Jean Toal is privately urging legislative leaders to amend a state law requiring judges to retire at seventy-two years of age, sources tell FITS.  In fact we’re hearing increasing chatter from our sources in…

IS A CORRUPT BARGAIN IN THE WORKS TO EXTEND S.C. CHIEF JUSTICE’S REIGN?

S.C. Chief Justice Jean Toal is privately urging legislative leaders to amend a state law requiring judges to retire at seventy-two years of age, sources tell FITS.  In fact we’re hearing increasing chatter from our sources in both the legislative and judicial branches that Toal may have offered the state’s “Republican” leaders a quid pro quo in exchange for passing such a law.

What did Toal allegedly agree to do (or not do) in exchange for lawmakers amending this retirement statute?  We’ve been unable to confirm the “quid” at this point, but we’ve heard from multiple sources that a secret deal is in the works that would enable the former liberal activist to extend her tenure beyond its current limit of three years.

One source claims the deal involves a “major case” currently before the court, although they declined to specify the ruling – or what decision lawmakers were seeking from Toal.

S.C. Chief Justice Jean Toal

Toal turns 70 years old this year.  Elected by lawmakers to the S.C. Supreme Court in 1988, she was reelected to the bench in 1996 and installed as Chief Justice in March of 2000.  In June of 2004 she was reelected by the S.C. General Assembly to a ten-year term as Chief Justice.

If the current law stands, Toal will not seek a new term in 2014 because she would be forced to step down at the end of the following year.  If the age limit is repealed or extended, however, she would seek another term.

“She’s not ready to retire,” one source told us, adding that in addition to her leverage on current cases Toal has “accumulated a lot of IOUs from powerful legislators” over the years.

“Generally speaking what she wants, she gets,” the source added.

Toal has repeatedly demonstrated her susceptibility to corruption – as evidenced by the infamous 2007 bar exam scandal (broken exclusively by FITS) as well as the ongoing shadiness demonstrated by her Office of Disciplinary Counsel.  She’s also had several traffic incidents allegedly involving alcohol.

Technically Supreme Court Justices (and other judges) in South Carolina can work past the age of 72, but if they do so they forfeit their ability to participate in the state’s retirement system.

As we’ve stated on numerous previous occasions, the election of judges by the S.C. General Assembly is an inherently corrupt process that should be immediately discontinued.  We believe judges should be appointed by the state’s chief executive with the advice and consent of the State Senate.

UPDATE: Well, well, well … unbeknownst to our sources on this story (but knownst to us), legislation has already been pre-filed for the upcoming session of the S.C. General Assembly which would completely remove the 72-year-old age limit for South Carolina justices and judges.  The bill – S. 71 – is sponsored by Democratic State Senator Gerald Malloy.

***

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63 comments

Guero January 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Do you trust Mark Sanford/Trikki Nikki more than the collective votes of the General Assembly where 170 people have one vote each? That’s an easy one, Billy. As imperfect as the present system, it beats your alternative.

Reply
Recovering Lobbyist January 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm

There is an alternative, Guero: turn over election of judges to the voters.

Reply
Guero January 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Which is even worse. If you want Judges soliciting campaign contributions from lawyers and litigants, and corruption warms your heart, then institute direct electioins for judges.

Reply
Frank Pytel January 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Guero

Corruption is alive and well without the need to have the lawyers and litigants contributing to campaign funds. But, with those types of contributions you at least have an inclination of where its coming from. As it stands now, there is so much backroom crap going on that there is absolutely no way of following the money trail.

Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge.

Frank Pytel

Reply
GreenvilleLwyr January 2, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Popular election of judges is a very bad idea. Judges need to be able to rule according to the law and its underlying principles, not according to what will appease the mob mentality of the general public. That is one of the things that sets the judciary apart from the executive and legislative brnaches. Where Nikki and the General Assembly worry about getting relected by Bubba in Greer or Red Bank, judges (in theory) can operate without those concerns.

Decisions by judges are sometimes not popular, although for the most part the judges in this state get it right (as do the juries). Nothing is perfect, but I don’t want a judge who is worried about re-election or pleasing his corporate donors making important decisions.

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Quid pro quo January 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Amen, let the people decide.
Judges are an elite amoung the elite.
The best retirements, medical and pay increases of any others.
Little or NO oversight with Jean Hoeffer Toal in charge.
I’ve personally seen cases where her influence was obvious!
She was out of control in the Legislature and has gotten worse since being elected to the bench.
Judges need to be treated, just as everyone else.

Reply
Smirks January 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm

There is an alternative, Guero: turn over election of judges to the voters.

The problem is that SC’s voters can’t elect decent folks to save its life. Not in the legislative branch, not in the executive branch. Judicial won’t be any better.

The national model is best, the governor should send someone to the plate and let the legislature strike them out or let them walk. The people have their voice in the matter by who they appoint in the two separate branches. If we can’t get good justices in our state supreme court, it’s because we can’t vote in a decent legislature and governor.

SCOTUS is far from flawless, too.

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Recovering Lobbyist January 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Guero, I did not say it was better, but I doubt it would be worse. But make no mistake, those things you worry about happen now. My wife and I were having dinner at Diane’s on Devine one evening a few years ago and the sign at the door read, “SC Trial Lawyers Association welcomes Chief Justice Jean Toal.” There she was, arriving in her dented minivan, happily greeted by a bunch of plaintiff’s lawyers ready to ply her with an expensive dinner and cocktails. And not for nothing, but North Carolina’s voters elect their judges.

Reply
Original Good Old Boy January 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Having the General Assembly select our judges is a terrible way to pick a judiciary. However, it’s less bad than (a) executive selection or (b) popular vote.

Reply
jimlewis,owb January 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Top Five Reasons why Queen Toad should serve as Chief Justice until she literally curls up on her office floor and turns into fucking dust balls.

5) Keeps downtown fly population under control
4) Unable to use rejection as a beauty contestant as a crutch
3) Makes every woman in the Judicial Branch a 10
2) Makes every man in the Judicial Branch a 5
1) Still undetermined how many goddamn mother fucking curse words she can inject into a single 30 second “she is bouncing off the wall today” episode

Reply
junior justice January 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Dear Jean- here are two days for you to remember this month:

Jan 9 – PLAY GOD DAY

Jan 13 – BLAME SOMEONE ELSE DAY

Reply
SubZeroIQ January 2, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Jean Toal’s real power source is(or was) her daughter, a staffer for the late Senator Inouye’s very powerful appropriations committee.
I have no inside track on anything. Most of what I know, I do know from public information research.
Now, Jean Toal (unless she repented, which I sincerely hope she does) will issue and order in her “administrative capacity as administrative head of all South State courts” barring me from using the internet. She has already issued an “administrative order” that I cannot use e-mails to communicate with certain people.
Yes, people, this happens in America. It is not Hosni Mubarak or China. It is Jean Toal in America.
And why?
Because in America, money talks. That is the tax-payers’ money and the money borrowed from China that Jean Toal’s daughter dispensed on the Senate Approppriations Committe.

Jean Toal’s daughter first worked for Senator Fritz Hollings, who had received a lot of campaign contributions from one Barbara Jean Burns(formerly married to and divorced from one Luke Brown and one Jon Popowski). Although mentally ill and bragging about it, Barabara Jean Burns sat as a judge for the City of Columbia (where Jean Toal drives) even after her term expired. Also, probably in return for her contibutions to Senator Hollings, Barbara Jean Burns’ daughter, Jean Marie Popowski, got hired by Bill Nettles, the current U.S. Attorney.

There are no friendships in this town. There is only money.

What Jean Toal was doing for South Carolina’s General Assembly, or certain members thereof, can probably be traced back to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

It now remains to be seen whether the new Senator from Hawaii, who was not Senator Inouye’s preferred successor, will retain Jean Toal’s daughter or will even be on the Appropriations Committee.
But this where to look for the real story.
Stop all this decadent stuff about looks and blah, blah, blah.

BTW, Jean Toal’s Office of Disciplinary Council refused to look into whether Barbara Jean Burns is incapacitated from sitting as a judge. It may also be that Barabara Jean Burns is still drawing about fifty thousand dollars a year from the City of Columbia without working a day as a city judge, and without even living in the the city for the past two years. No one in the City of Columbia, not even City Council would answer that question.

Apparently, campaign contributions to Senator Hollings are the gift that keeps on giving.

But the “big case” before South Carolina’s Supreme Court may be the appeal from the dismissal of the case against Nikki Haley.

Another big-case-story is the prosecutors’ control over the criminal docket. After Justice Hearn wrote a sound and surprisingly courageous opinion holding it unconstitutional (with only Justice Pleicones surprisingly dissenting) and a reasonable order was issued to move the criminal docket along, the prosecutors asked for a rehearing. The rehearing on the opinion itself was denied. But the administrative order was suspended indefinetately. Instead, Jean Toal was assigned to form a commission to study the issue.
My guess is: she will never do that.
You see people: bringing false criminal charges against the innocent has become a cottage industry in South Carolina with the encouragement of Jean Toal.
She should not receive an extended term, she should be impeached and removed from office. She should alse be excomunicated for her blood-thirsty callousness about the death penalty.

Here, I said it. Watch what she will do to me.
She can only physically cause me to be killed. But she cannot touch my soul.
God bless courage. It is the true test of true faith.

Reply
rickie January 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm

r u that egyptian dr.?

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interested January 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm

you totally fucking scare me, but I kind of love your insane doggedness at the same time. Oh, if I could only sit with you and ask you questions…..Do you have no children? no other regular-person life obligations? Are you independently wealthy? How do you effectively become acid in the eyes of so many people? do you ever pick on the weak and poverty stricken? Don’t you have to work every now and then, tend to life’s various miseries which are regularly visited upon mostly everyone excepting you of course? Is there anyone in the public eye you can say a kind word about for a change? You’re like the crazy bum screaming random obscenities at inanimate objects: People truly want to help you find justice but are afraid to get too close lest you fling your own poo in their general direction. There is a fine line between beautiful and hideous, and intellectually you seem to teter on the line but the fact that you are using a straight jacket for balance seems to be tipping the scales against you.

Reply
Sarge January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Jean Toal is THAT bad. Everybody knows it, but are afraid to say anything out of fear of her retaliation. Many know her wrath and know she rules with fear as her main weapon. It’s a matter of time….

Reply
tomstickler January 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Folks, here we have a prime example of the birth of the sock-puppet “interested” springing forth as did Athena from the forehead of Zeus, just to dis SubZeroIQ.

Such an effort sorta makes one want to look more deeply into SubZeroIQ’s post. Maybe there’s something there that is twisting someone’s knickers?

Reply
Principle January 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Did you have a good shoplifting, I mean shopping season, Dr. Marie Faltas? Did you stay away from Walmart this time?

Reply
interested January 3, 2013 at 9:08 am

Tomstickler, you misunderstood. I think she’s half brilliance, half train wreck, and half skirmisher – that’s 150% bad mother fucker. I wish she was my aunt. My crazy, fearless whoopass aunt, that I’d crank up and point in the direction of anyone I didn’t like. I would point her in your direction Tom, just for your demonstrable lack of reading comprehension. She’d slather you in the mustard of hate and chop you up for lunch. To her, you’d be delicious, yet unsatisfying and gassy. She’d still have enough whoopass left for Wil and Big T combined. What say you, Auntie?

With Love, Interested.

Reply
rickie January 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm

if you don’t care for the chief justice, or the court, okay. but children are off limits.

Reply
Quid pro quo January 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Toal is a tyrannical Bitch! Period!

Reply
Jeffy01 January 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

As soon as the FBI wraps up the Larry Martin/Bobby Harrell/Horry County cases ( all slam dunks we hear from FITS)…..they will be on this like white on rice.

Reply
Johnson January 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Right. Not so long as Bill Nettles and his string puller Alex and Jean draw breath.

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BradWarthenSucks January 2, 2013 at 2:24 pm

She just knows if she’s forced to retire, future drinking and driving charges will not be dropped.

Maybe she can talk to Randy Scott about retiring and then coming back to her current position 15 days later.

Reply
Recovering Lobbyist January 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm

The issue is most likely the equal protection claim regarding the sales tax exemptions. The legislature is genuinely sweating that case because they know they have a problem when the amount of exemptions exceeds the amount of tax collected.

Reply
Carpe Jugulum January 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Does Jake Knotts know about this? More importantly, is Chief Justice Toal aware of the many lucrative opportunities at LMC? Get the Gigolo on the phone!

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Johnson January 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Joel Lourie recently told a small group that he could not and would not do anything to bring Jean Toal in line because she and his father were such good friends. Time to grow up and man up, Joel.

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BradWarthenSucks January 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm

His old man probably sold her half of the clothes she wears.

Reply
south mauldin January 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm

What the hell is going on in that picture? Is Toal giving that woman a titty twister? And I don’t want to know what the woman is about to do to Toal.

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SubZeroIQ January 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Most likely, the other woman is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Barbara Jean Burns.
If it is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then Jean Toal is pretending to be condoling her for the death of Mr. Ginsburg.

If it is Barbara Jean Burns, then Jean Toal is pretending to be condoling her for the death of Elsi Burns.

In either case, what Jean Toal probably said is that she was one of only six women in her law school class. Jean Toal is incapable of talking about anything other than herself even when someone else has just lost a loved one.

In Judge Perry’s funeral, Jean Toal hardly said a word about the man but bored the church with how she was only one of six women in her law school class. She also tried to be among the honorary pall bearers even though it was clear that was only for the sitting FEDERAL judges and the law clerks of Judge Perry.

Reply
Principle January 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Ahhh….nothing like a rant from SubZeroIQ. She has the unique ability to make me take the opposite side of whatever issue she opines about, regardless of how I previously felt. I guess it’s just hard for me to follow the sage wisdom of a woman who was ARRESTED AT WALMART FOR SHOPLIFTING!

Reply
Johnson January 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Committing a hit and run while drunk, then lying about it, then using Bob Coble to stiff arm the cops to look the other way is a hell of lot worse than a shoplifting charge, if that did happen.

Reply
Principle January 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm

By Captured July 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm

SubZreoIQ aka Marie Assa’ad Faltsa is in custody today for violating her bond. This woman has over 60 plus law suits in South Carolina and in the supreme court systems. She writes and will put all of anyone personal information online. Marie Faltas has been barred from News Stations, Hotels ( Clarion), Richland County Courts, SC Supreme Courts, Richland County Sheriffs Department and other web sites.

Case No. 3:05-3283-TLW-JRM
Walmart VS. Dr Marie Assaad Faltas

This case arises out of an incident that occurred on November 6, 2001, at the Walmart store located on Garner’s Ferry Road in Columbia, South Carolina. The case was tried before Judge Steven D. Dennis of the Columbia Municipal Court. The judge found the Defendant, Marie Assa’ad Faltas (Faltas), guilty of shoplifting.

Reply

By Ed’ friend July 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Wow Dr faltas in jail again. Great, what a relief for the city of columbia, and u got it wrong captured, she has over 200 law suits in SC. she is not a citizen, does not pay taxes, spunges off her mother, been ordered out of the US three times, some idiot gave her a green card. Oh and yes has cost the citizens of SC Millions of dollars in court cost, and I might say the city of Columbia millions defending the city, and you the tax payers are fitting the bill.

Reply
rickie January 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm

custody today, 2013, or back in 2010?

Reply
rickie January 3, 2013 at 5:19 pm

not on the alvin glenn detention center website inmate list

Reply
JD KDP January 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Malloy is a master at self-dealing. What a brown-nose job. No pun intended. I hope his bill gets nowhere.

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SubZeroIQ January 2, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Every time some coward liar pretends that Dr. Marie Faltas has a shoplifiting conviction, she will be taking names and suing them for defamation. Also, the answer is that the City of Columbia used a fabricated Polaroid to falsely convict her for a time. But she cleared herself and here is the final opinion reversing Judge Cooper.
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2007-UP-193 – City of Columbia v. Faltas THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE. IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS
PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

——————————————————————————–

City of Columbia, Respondent,

v.

Marie-Thérèse Assa’ad-Faltas, Appellant.

——————————————————————————–

Appeal from Richland County
G. Thomas Cooper, Jr., Circuit Court Judge

——————————————————————————–

Unpublished Opinion No. 2007-UP-193
Heard February 6, 2007 – Filed April 26, 2007

——————————————————————————–

REVERSED

——————————————————————————–

Marie T. Assa’ad-Faltas, of Columbia, Pro Se.

Dana M. Thye, of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Marie-Thérèse Assa’ad-Faltas, M.D., M.P.H., appeals the circuit court’s decision to reverse the municipal court’s order granting her a new criminal trial. We reverse.

FACTS

On November 6, 2001, Faltas was arrested and charged with shoplifting after two Wal-Mart employees alleged they witnessed her remove several labels from multi-colored folders priced at $0.97 each. The employees stated that Faltas replaced two labels on more expensive binders priced at either $4.97 or $3.97 each[1] with two of the $0.97 labels, and then she attempted to purchase the binders with the less expensive price labels on them. A Polaroid photograph was purportedly taken of several multi-colored folders and the clear binders on the date of the incident. Faltas’s receipt showed that she purchased two “report covers” for $0.97 each with UPC numbers 007878799671.

A few weeks prior to trial, Faltas’s attorney was made aware of the existence of the photograph. He immediately sent a somewhat insulting letter to the City requesting that he have immediate access to the photograph. The City responded in a short letter indicating that the case would be called for trial in two weeks and that Faltas’s attorney could make any pre-trial motions. No motions were made concerning the photograph, and neither Faltas nor her attorney gained access to the photograph prior to trial.

On the date of the trial, Faltas’s attorney moved to dismiss the shoplifting charge because: the City did not have the original folders and binders from which Faltas was alleged to have switched labels; and the photograph of the purported items with switched labels mistakenly included the wrong binder, bringing into question whether Wal-Mart preserved the correct evidence. The municipal court denied the motion to dismiss the charge and also denied Faltas’s attorney’s motion to continue the case so he could appeal the denial of the motion to dismiss.[2] The trial continued, with the City presenting the testimony of the two Wal-Mart employees who witnessed Faltas removing labels, the testimony of the arresting officer, and the introduction of the photograph. According to a Wal-Mart employee who witnessed Faltas’s actions, after the photograph was taken, the incorrect labels were removed from the binders and disposed of, and the binders were returned to the store shelves. A police officer testified at trial that he saw the evidence against Faltas, including the photograph, prior to transporting Faltas to jail.

Faltas testified at trial that she had previously returned two clear binders to Wal-Mart and had inadvertently attached the wrong labels to them prior to returning them. When she was in Wal-Mart on the date of the incident, Faltas testified she decided to correct her error and switch the incorrect labels for correct labels. She stated she actually switched less expensive labels for more expensive ones and that she went on to purchase completely different report covers with the appropriate labels attached. Faltas was convicted of shoplifting and fined $500. Her conviction was affirmed by both the circuit court and this court on appeal. City of Columbia v. Faltas, Op. No. 2005-UP-00143 (S.C.Ct.App. dated Mar. 1, 2005). On May 18, 2005, the case was remitted after the supreme court denied her petition for certiorari.

Faltas moved before the municipal court for a new trial based on after-discovered evidence, and a hearing was held on May 23, 2005, before the same municipal judge who presided over her criminal trial. Faltas had previously been allowed to make a copy of the photograph admitted into evidence during her trial. Based on a digitally enlarged copy, she argued that the photograph was not taken at the time of her arrest but was instead fabricated by the Wal-Mart employees at a later time because, among other reasons: (1) stickers on the shelves in the background of the photograph were similar to the “New Item” stickers used in 2002, indicating that the photograph was taken in 2002, not when Faltas was arrested in 2001; (2) the UPC symbols on the items in the photograph did not match the UPC symbols from the items she allegedly changed the labels on and purchased; and (3) the photograph was taken of items from the stationary aisle, not the arts and crafts aisle where Faltas obtained the binders she purchased. Faltas also introduced Wal-Mart’s UPC manual that indicated that every item, including similar items of the same color, had a unique UPC symbol. Because the folders shown in the photograph were of different colors, Faltas argued that the UPC numbers on the labels would have different numbers. Thus, she argued, it was impossible that she took two labels from the different colored folders to put on the larger binders because her receipt showed she purchased two items with identical UPC numbers.

The municipal court issued an order granting Faltas’s motion for a new trial. The municipal court found that Faltas “raised very serious and disturbing questions concerning the veracity of the testimony presented against her by the two Wal-Mart employees about the photograph.” The court noted that the photograph entered against her at her trial could not have been made at the time of her arrest because the “New Item” stickers in the background were similar to the “New Item” stickers Wal-Mart copyrighted in 2002. The court found significant the fact that the colored folders would have two different UPC numbers and the items Faltas purchased had two identical UPC numbers. The court found the evidence had been discovered after trial, and could not by due diligence have been discovered prior to trial, because Faltas was not allowed to review the photograph until trial and therefore could not have made the digital enlargement until after trial. The court noted that where the original evidence was not retained and the City failed to make the photograph available to the defense until trial, despite Faltas’s efforts to see it, “and where it is later shown that the photograph itself could not be what it has been purported by the prosecution to be, it may be said that the prosecution’s case is not merely impeached but thoroughly destroyed by the after discovered evidence.” The City appealed to the circuit court, arguing the municipal court made an error of law.

Faltas complained to the circuit court that the City did not have the right to appeal the order granting her a new trial. The circuit court determined that the City did have the right to appeal and that the appeal was not interlocutory. After reviewing the motion for a new trial, the transcript of the hearing, the evidence presented at the 2004 criminal trial, the briefs submitted by both parties, the affidavit of trial counsel, and the order granting a new trial, the circuit court concluded that the municipal court’s order was in error and reversed the grant of a new trial. The circuit court determined that the physical evidence presented at the hearing on the new trial motion “did not lead to the conclusive result” that the municipal court believed it did. The circuit court found that Faltas had the opportunity at her criminal trial to challenge the photograph or request a continuance in order to further review the photograph, but she failed to do so. Relying on the new trial standards set forth in State v. Caskey, 273 S.C. 325, 256 S.E.2d 737 (1979), the court held: (1) the evidence would not likely change the result of the trial; (2) Faltas had the evidence available to her on the date of her trial, thus it was not discovered after trial; (3) the photograph could have been “discovered” prior to trial because Faltas’s trial counsel was made aware of the existence of the photograph two weeks prior to trial; and (4) the evidence was merely cumulative or impeaching. The circuit court determined that the municipal court committed an error of law in granting a new trial, reversed the municipal court’s order, and reinstated Faltas’s conviction. Faltas appeals.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

“In criminal appeals from magistrate or municipal court, the circuit court does not conduct a de novo review, but instead reviews for preserved error raised to it by appropriate exception.” State v. Henderson, 347 S.C. 455, 457, 556 S.E.2d 691, 692 (Ct. App. 2001); S. C. Code Ann. § 14-25-105 (Supp. 2006) (“There shall be no trial de novo on any appeal from a municipal court.”). Thus, as with any appeal of a criminal case, the circuit court, in its appellate capacity, sits to review errors of law only and is bound by the factual findings of the trial court unless clearly erroneous. See State v. Wilson, 345 S.C. 1, 5-6, 545 S.E.2d 827, 829 (2001) (holding that appellate courts in criminal cases only review errors of law and are bound by the factual findings of the trial court unless clearly erroneous). This same scope of review applies to this court. Id.; Henderson, 347 S.C. at 457, 556 S.E.2d at 692 (“In reviewing criminal cases, this court may review errors of law only.”).

LAW/ANALYSIS

Citing Anderson v. City of Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 573-75 (1985),[3] for the proposition that appellate courts are not to determine the factual issues de novo, Faltas argues the circuit court erred in finding that the municipal court’s determination was clearly erroneous. We agree that the circuit court employed the wrong standard of review.[4]

It is well-settled that the granting of a new trial based upon after-discovered evidence is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court once the movant has made the requisite showing that the new evidence: (1) would likely change the result if a new trial were granted; (2) was discovered since the trial; (3) could not have been discovered prior to trial by the exercise of due diligence; (4) is material to the issue of guilt or innocence; and (5) is not merely cumulative or impeaching. Caskey, 273 S.C. at 329, 256 S.E.2d at 738-39; see State v. Pierce, 263 S.C. 23, 31, 207 S.E.2d 414, 418 (1974) (noting that whether to grant a new trial based upon after-discovered evidence is within the trial court’s discretion).

At the new trial hearing, Faltas: submitted a digital enlargement of the photograph from trial; provided examples of Wal-Mart’s 2002 copyrighted “New Item” stickers that were similar to the ones in the photograph; provided UPC codes from paper folders; described where the photograph was taken; and described the differences between the folders based on either angled or rounded edges or lack of outer clasps or prongs. Faltas alleged that this evidence derived from the original photograph proved that the two Wal-Mart employees either were mistaken or that they fabricated their testimony and the photograph well after the date of her arrest. Faltas’s attorney also testified that, despite his repeated requests to see the photograph prior to trial, it was not provided to him.

The municipal court was convinced that the digital enlargement of the photograph, and the evidence that was obtained as a result of the digital enlargement, constituted after-discovered evidence because Faltas was denied access to the photograph by the City. Thus, despite her attorney’s efforts to gain access to the photograph, Faltas could not have made the enlargement until after she was given access to the photograph after trial. On appeal, the circuit court reviewed each piece of evidence introduced at the new trial hearing and made findings as to whether each piece of evidence was believable or supported the theory Faltas used it for. The circuit court then performed a new analysis of the evidence pursuant to Caskey. This was error. Whether or not the circuit court agreed with the factual findings made by the municipal court, there was evidence presented at the new trial hearing to support the factual findings and the circuit court was bound by them.

Thus, looking at the evidence, it was irrelevant that the circuit court would have ruled differently from the municipal court. The circuit court was bound by the municipal court’s factual findings and the inferences to be drawn therefrom. Its power was limited to determining whether the municipal court made an error of law in granting the new trial, based on the facts as found by the municipal court. Because there were facts to support the municipal court’s legal analysis of the new trial motion, we find the circuit court erred in reversing the grant of the motion for a new trial. We are likewise bound by the municipal court’s factual findings and must employ the same scope of review as the circuit court was bound to employ. Applying this scope of review, we find there was evidence to support the municipal court’s findings, and thus, the municipal court did not abuse its discretion in granting the new trial motion.[5]

CONCLUSION

Because the circuit court erroneously conducted a de novo review of this matter, the circuit court’s order reversing the municipal court’s grant of a new trial and reinstating Faltas’s conviction is

REVERSED.

ANDERSON, HUFF, and BEATTY, JJ., concur.

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[1] The testimony is not clear as to whether the clear binders Faltas allegedly attempted to purchase were Plaid brand binders or Cardinal brand binders, each with a different price.

[2] Faltas fired her attorney after he called two witnesses, and Faltas completed the trial pro se.

[3] Anderson, a United States Supreme Court case, discusses the appellate court’s role in federal cases to apply the clearly erroneous standard. Anderson, 470 U.S. at 573-74 (“If the . . . court’s account of the evidence is plausible in light of the record viewed in its entirety, the court of appeals may not reverse it even though convinced that had it been sitting as the trier of fact, it would have weighed the evidence differently.”). As previously discussed, our state court cases hold a similar scope of review for circuit courts reviewing the findings of the municipal court or master-in-equity.

[4] Faltas also argues that the circuit court applied the wrong standard by relying upon State v. Caskey, 273 S.C. 325, 256 S.E.2d 737 (1979), in determining whether she was entitled to a new trial. She asserts that State v. Spann, 334 S.C. 618, 513 S.E.2d 98 (1999), effectively overruled Caskey, thus the circuit court relied upon the wrong standard. Initially, it does not appear from the record that this matter was ever ruled upon by the circuit court. This matter is not preserved for review. State v. Hicks, 330 S.C. 207, 216, 499 S.E.2d 209, 214 (1998) (holding that an issue was not preserved for appellate review where it was not raised to or ruled upon by the trial court). Further, both Spann and Caskey outline the five elements that a defendant must meet in order to obtain a new trial based on after-discovered evidence. Thus, Spann does not overrule Caskey. See Spann, 334 S.C. at 619-20, 513 S.E.2d at 99 (outlining the five elements for the granting of a new trial based on after-discovered evidence); Caskey, 273 S.C. at 329, 256 S.E.2d at 739 (same).

[5] Faltas raises numerous other arguments on appeal, including: (1) the City was not entitled to appeal the grant of a new trial; (2) the appeal of the grant of a new trial violated the double jeopardy clause; (3) the City waived its grounds for appeal; (4) the circuit court erred by requiring her to file her brief simultaneously with the City’s without allowing her to respond to the brief and without holding a hearing on the merits; (5) the circuit court erred by requiring her, as the winning party before the municipal judge, to preserve additional sustaining grounds for appeal; and (6) the circuit court erred in finding the photograph was not after-discovered evidence. Because we reverse this case based on the scope of review, we need not address Faltas’s remaining issues on appeal.

© 2000-2013 South Carolina Judicial Department

Now, do you want to know how was really arrested AND PERMANENTLY CONVICTED for theft, prostitution, and disorderly conduct?
All the false accusers the City of Columbia and Sara Heather Savitz Weiss used to try to falsely frame Dr. Marie Faltas of harasmment.
Specifically:
Charlene Crouch (white female) pled guilty to grand larceny on 15 August 2007, was arrested for public drunkenness in April 2012 and now stands accused of sexual battery on a vulnerable adult.

Teresa Felicia Ingram Jackson (black female) pled guilty in 2000 to credit card theft and fraud and was arrested in 2011 for shoplifting and prostitution and now stands accused of possession or marijuana and Vicodin.

Larry Wayne Mason(white male)indicted for 145 counts of embezzlement from the U.S. Army and for impersonating a Chief Warrant Officer. His second wife, Ella Faye Kyzer Mason, died of a gunshot wound to the head inconsistent with suicide with Larry Mason the only one present.

Alden Hollis Wheeler(white male)arrested in January 2010 for criminal domestic violence.

Corey Lamont Curry (black male) PWID crack cocaine, burglary, burglarly again, drunk driving, and the list goes on.

Anthony Bernard Pressley (black male) twice convicted sex offender and the list goes on.

Amanda Star Blanton (white female and former City of Columbia police officer) pled guilty to disorderly conduct in March 2011.

This is what I mean by Jean Toal condoning a cottage industry of bringing false charges against the innocent. Dr. Marie Faltas was attempted to be framed for “harassing” these convicts.

It turns out the police, Weiss, and probably Toal, knew they went to Dr. Faltas’ neighborhood to commit crimes. But it was Dr. Faltas who was falsely arrested for trying to report them to police.

Why did Toal support those known criminals?
Answer for yourselves.

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BradWarthenSucks January 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Do you think anyone is going to fucking read all that???

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shifty henry January 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm

….. I did, and found it interesting. Reminds me of Joe Pesci in “My Cousin Vinnie.”

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shifty henry January 2, 2013 at 7:17 pm

She has more time on her hands, so to speak, than BigT.

And speaking of BigT, the language, grammar and syntax he uses is so varied in his posts that I am sure there are several people posting.

And speaking of time, they might be on death row.

Hmmmmm?

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jimlewis,owb January 2, 2013 at 9:46 pm

On June 26, 2012 at 9:19 am SubZeroIQ posted, “There is absolutely no medical indication for removal of the clitoris”.

Prefrontal Lobotomy is now on the table for discussion.

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shifty henry January 2, 2013 at 11:07 pm

She was thinking about her clitoris at 9.19 in the morning!? She must have been late for work.

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The Dude January 3, 2013 at 8:53 am

PLEASE DON’T BOGART THAT JOINT,,,,,MY FRIEND …

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rickie January 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

too bad it wasn’t a “published” opinion.

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interested January 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Damn, Aunt Faltas fired her lawyer after he called 2 witnesses and completed the trial on her own! she’s a more effective lawyer than half the lawyers I know! Go Aunt Faltas, go! Man what spunk! I remember her storoes of during the war, (WWII) she riveted the wings of airplanes and was known by the nickname “whoopass.” She would armwrestle men for nickels, and when she had three nickels she’d buy a RC Cola and a moon pie!

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Joe Wilson Is A Very Smart Man January 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm

In the end,I dont think the Legislature will change the 72 yoa retirement age for judges for a very simple reason.
Many lawyer legislators see themselves as future judges.Accordingly,they have a vested interest in making sure there is a constant turnover in judicial positions.One of the prime ways this is done is with the mandatory retirement age.Self interest trumps all.

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Doris January 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Some of the lawyer legislators that Jean “owns,” really hate her. But they also know that any attempt to ask her to at least appear honest and ethical will only meet with the most intense retaliation.

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sad but true January 3, 2013 at 6:16 am

I think you nailed it.

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rickie January 3, 2013 at 10:40 am

that’s what happened in 1988 when the 72 year retirement age was enacted.

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Soft Sigh from Hell January 2, 2013 at 6:54 pm

I can’t wait to read the book.

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shifty henry January 2, 2013 at 7:26 pm

….. already published- check it out from the library:

“How To Strengthen Your Character Without Actually Going To Jail”

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Mad January 3, 2013 at 2:21 am

Ol jean troll don’t want to give up her power. It is time senators supported by voters send this unethical bitch to her house for good.

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Roscoe January 3, 2013 at 8:58 am

She has enough trash on them and they owe her so many favors she will stay.Remember they all voted unanamously to re-elect her after leaving the scene of two accidents. Columbia is as corrupt as DC.

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shifty henry January 3, 2013 at 9:12 am

….. off the subject, who is this “Dr. Faltas” – what kind of doctor is she? What’s her story?

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rickie January 3, 2013 at 10:40 am

don’t go there.
google her.

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shifty henry January 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

….. went there – WOW! I’ll have to be cautious about what I say about her.

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shifty henry January 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

….. read the case “Faltas vs State Newspaper” and it reminded me of an old joke:

A guy is getting the results of his medical tests. He asks his doctor, “Well, how am I doing?”

His doctor says, “I have good news and bad news for you.”

“Give me the bad news first” the guy says.

The doctor says, “You have an extremely strong tendency to becoming a homosexual.”

The guy says, “Oh, my God, if that’s the bad news then what’s the good news.”

The doctor looks at him and says, “I think you’re cute!”

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interested January 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm

She happens to be my imagined pretend crazy whoopass aunt Faltas. Mess with the bull, you get the horns. wouldst that I could sit at her feet for hours, overlooking the nail fungus, bunions and odor, and listen to her spin yarns of her escapades and adventures in destroying people who deserved it, and some who didn’t, all the while being made of teflon and resistant to any form of legal attack. She is bulletproof, evasive of any form of consequence the rest of us mere mortal regular lowly working people would have to endure should we have taken the same fantastical and brash actions.

It’s like they combined all the superheroes of the justice league into a singular aging burlap bag of gray-haired liquid hate, mixed in a good dose of crazy as hell, gave it enough money to live independantly of gainful or meaningful work, and fed it gunpowder and rocks until it exploded with fantastic and vengeful vitriol at anyone, and I mean ANYONE in it’s path!

I love you, crazy whoopass aunt falta.

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shifty henry January 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm

…… and that just about sums up today’s news. however, BigT might envy you!

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SubZeroIQ January 4, 2013 at 10:12 am

I need to post because some people do learn. I will not respond directly to the juveniles, the cowards or the liars.

But it is very important to keep stressing that a supposed court system that KNOWINGLY brings false charges AGAIN AND AGAIN against the innocent to shake her and her family down is a rotten tree that bears bad fruit. And Jesus Christ was clear about what needs to be done with that rotten tree.

There is nothing funny or even neutral about being on the receiving end of false criminal charges AGAIN and AGAIN.

In all versions of the Holy Commandments (and they are ten only in Hollywood; but, in the REAL BIBLE, they range from nine to 146), “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain” and “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” precede “Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt not steal,” and “Thou shalt not covet ….” And in all versions, “Honor thy Father and Mother” is always next only to the commands to love God and love one’s neighbor. And the next mandatory Holy Commandment is to be kind to the stranger (that is the immigrant) and to treat him as one of your own “for you were a sojourner in the land of Egypt.”

I do not care whether you believe it or not; but God knows the truth. My courageous labor to change a system grows out of my love for my enemy along with my duty to honor my parents, of whom the departed one’s name was so wrongfully sullied and the living one’s health has been severely damaged by what was done to me.

I need to do this because “(s)he who knows to do good but does not sins.” The definition of sins of commission.

My enemies, my false accusers, never learned to earn a living by doing something good or useful. By cultivating them as false witnesses against me, the system (which I am trying to change) has taught them that it is Okay to do wrong so long as you are willing to help us frame certain innocents.

Not only do these false accusers learn nothing good, they do not unterstand that even a rotten system has its limits. So, THE MAJORITY OF MY FALSE ACCUSERS went on to commit other crimes which the system (or the other victims) could not tolerate.

I have been falsely arrested AGAIN AND AGAIN as if I were an animal. Yet, I never hated anyone. I continue to pray that they repent and that God give me strength to stop their bad acts.

To whomever said “children are off limits,” I am talking about adult and powerful children.
But for the minor children of these corrupt people, decency cannot be bought, and definitely not with corrupt money.

Corrupt money may enable you to send your children to Harvard, Yale, or Swiss Finishing School. But it could never buy decency.

Decency is something children learn by SEEING what their parents do, not my listening to what their parents or teachers preach.

True decency and courage become second nature. I saw both my parents in difficult, very difficult, situations. Neither hesitated but instintively did the right and difficult thing.

Unfortunately, I have not seen ANYONE in South Carolina’s court system PERSEVERE in doing the right thing. SOME initially did the right thing. But when pressure was applied to them, I was forced to exclaim in something I filed, and more in sorrow than in anger, “Et tu Brute?”

But unlike Julius Ceasar, I did not fall. You see, Julius Ceasar was not Christian. I am

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junior justice January 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

— read and initialed

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SubZeroIQ January 4, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Can this be you?

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junior justice January 4, 2013 at 10:23 pm

— who “be you”

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junior justice January 5, 2013 at 7:27 am

Are you asking who am I?

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