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Criminal Defense Lawyers: SC Solicitors Out Of Line

December 2, 2013 Recently, one of South Carolina’s Supreme Court Justices has come under fire from the prosecutors in this state for stating what should be obvious: that the South Carolina Supreme Court will not tolerate prosecutorial misconduct. A recent article in South Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly discussed the “outrage” from…

December 2, 2013

Recently, one of South Carolina’s Supreme Court Justices has come under fire from the prosecutors in this state for stating what should be obvious: that the South Carolina Supreme Court will not tolerate prosecutorial misconduct. A recent article in South Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly discussed the “outrage” from South Carolina’s solicitors over remarks allegedly made by South Carolina Supreme Court Justice Donald W. Beatty at the Solicitor’s conference this fall. Apparently, the Solicitors in this state are “outraged” that a member of the Court tasked with disciplining lawyers would dare to suggest that the Court will not turn a blind eye to witness intimidation and tampering, selective and retaliatory prosecutions, perjury and the suppression of evidence. Justice Beatty’s warning that “Your bar licenses will be [in] jeopardy. We will take your license,” has struck a nerve. As the saying goes, a hit dog will holler.

It has been reported that Ninth Circuit Solicitor, Scarlett A. Wilson, sent a letter to South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson that contained a summary of Justice Beatty’s remarks and asked for action to be taken. Since then, it appears that thirteen of South Carolina’s sixteen solicitors have joined the call asking that Justice Beatty be disqualified from hearing appeals in criminal cases and disciplinary matters involving prosecutors.

Perhaps when he appeared at their conference, a case from Solicitor Wilson’s own circuit was fresh on Justice Beatty’s mind. With In re: Nelson, decided on October 23, 2013, the Supreme Court had to address the misconduct of one of Solicitor Wilsons’ assistant solicitors engaging in ex parte communications with a juror during a criminal trial and then providing misleading answers to specific questions from the trial court regarding those communications. Or maybe he was remembering the case of State v. Inman decided in December of 2011. In an opinion authored by Justice Beatty, the Inman Court found that prosecutors had engaged in witness intimidation against a defense expert, but did not overturn the trial court’s denial of a motion for mistrial because the defendant had failed to show prejudice from that misconduct. Either way, it should concern all South Carolinians that the prosecutors in this state get so upset when they are reminded that they have an ethical duty not to win at any costs, but rather to administer justice.

We are blessed in South Carolina to have many solicitors and prosecutors who take their duty seriously and work very hard to ensure that their offices seek justice over court room victories. However, the people of South Carolina would be better served if these “outraged” solicitors would use Justice Beatty’s remarks to help them clean up their own houses instead of assailing the integrity of a judge who has shown no sign of anti-prosecutor bias in his rulings. Given that, the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers supports any efforts by the Court to ensure that all lawyers remember their ethical duties. It never hurts to be reminded of the grave responsibility we all face in bringing justice to the courts of South Carolina.

S.C. Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

(Editor’s Note: The above communication is a news release from an advocacy organization and does not necessarily reflect the editorial position of To submit your letter, news release, email blast, media advisory or issues statement for publication, click here).

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jimlewisowb December 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Ethics and lawyers is always an interesting topic

Constipation and death is always a more interesting topic

idcydm December 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Did you hear about the constipated mathematician, worked it out with a pencil.

Morticia DeVille December 3, 2013 at 11:53 am

and when you expire, you generally blow it out the rear.

Tired Of Corruption December 2, 2013 at 7:40 pm

In my opinion, Ninth Circuit Solicitor, Scarlett A. Wilson should be disbarred. In one of dozens of matters, in the case of Charleston County Sherriff Al Cannon and pending criminal charges against him, Wilson is sitting on her duff and riding it out to protect Cannon. Its a known fact. Every lawyer in Charleston whispers about it. Nevertheless, it is about time someone pulled down these swollen head power freaks and told them like it was. I have personally seen so many lawyers get away with outright and willful violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct; and, Solicitors have been NO EXCEPTION.
Reel them in, I say. They can cry all they want. But until we clean out our states corruption judicial system, we will continue to have “prosecutorial misconduct” … “vindictive prosecution” … and violations of the professional conduct rules like there has always been. And it has been out of control. A self policing system has always proved to be a worthless one. Just look at our state legislature structure and how it handles ethical violations, etc. Its all a pathetic joke. And most certainly this is a darn good time to start exposing these lawless rogues in our legal system.

Tired of stupidity December 2, 2013 at 11:19 pm

That case is not in Wilson’s office. It was sent to another prosecutor and has probably long since been finished. Read up before you start whining.

I Pick Out Sociopaths December 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm

You are doofus.

Thomas December 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I think you are spot on. The jist? If you add up all law enforcement employees, their families, Rotarians, Freemasons, and Shriners voting for Sheriffs and Solicitors and state reps in each county, you begin to see the math it would take to crush the corruption. Build and maintain a voting bloc to overcome the above mentioned at the polls, then you will see real changes away from what you describe.

Thomas Brown December 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

You are 100% correct!

nitrat December 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm

It’s not just SC. There is prosecutorial misconduct at all levels of the legal system and across the nation – just read the papers.
We need to stop electing prosecutors. It breeds grandstanding miscarriages of justice.

OhLawdWaHappenin? December 3, 2013 at 11:47 am

so you want the crony legislature to pick its solicitors? what about a solictor who gets into office by being picked by Representative So and So who also happens to a lawyer. Don’t you think he would cut a lot of slack for the clients of that representative? Public, fair, transparent elections are the best way to pick solicitors.

nitrat December 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Nobody said nothing ’bout no legislators. Pissant.

Just Us system December 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm

The justice system is permanently broken. This infighting doesn’t even scratch the surface of it. Avoid it at all costs if you are smart. Find a way to settle your problems outside of it no matter how difficult and you will end up much happier and with more money in your pocket.

On Target December 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Excellent advice and you are absolutely correct. Discovery is the opportunity for the Attorneys to determine how long to drag out a case, in order to milk more from the client, nothing more. Total corruption!

More BS December 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Witness intimidation happened in a case I’m familiar with. I personally talked with AG who told me it had to be investigated first. NO law enforcement agency would touch it due to the well connected people involved.

The truth, the whole truth... December 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm

News flash: Cats complain about dogs!!!
SCACDL wasn’t in the room when Beatty spoke so it is no wonder they don’t know what they are talking about.
Beatty was not called out for telling prosecutors to follow the rules. He was called out for telling them he is biased against them and intends to come after them in his future rulings. He commented on cases currently pending before the court and told the crowd that no matter what laws the legislature passed regarding docket control there were three votes on the court that would strike the law down as unconstitutional. It was improper for him to give an opinion on the constitutionality of a law that has not even been passed and it displayed his bias again. Judges and legislators who were at the conference were even shocked at the things he said according to the SCLawyers Weekly article.

Ed December 3, 2013 at 8:36 am

the constitutionality of who controls the docket has already been decided. It just hasn’t been decided after the legislature passes a specific law to try to return it to solicitors but at the end of the day, the supreme court has already ruled on the underlying issue.

Ed December 3, 2013 at 8:46 am

November 2012—

We must determine whether Section 1-7-330 of the South Carolina Code (2005), which vests control of the criminal docket in the circuit solicitor, violates the separation of powers principle embodied in Article 1, Section
8 of the South Carolina Constitution. In 1980, we recognized that “[t]he authority of the court to grant continuances and to determine the order in which cases shall be heard is derived from its power to hear and decide cases.” Williams v. Bordon’s, Inc., 274 S.C. 275, 279, 262 S.E.2d 881, 883 (1980). “This adjudicative power of the court carries with it the inherent power to control the order of its business to safeguard the rights of litigants.” Id. The time has now come for us to acknowledge that section 1-7-330 is at odds with this intrinsically judicial power. We therefore hold that section 1-7-330 violates the separation of powers and therefore is unconstitutional.

nitrat December 3, 2013 at 9:58 am

Scalia gives his opinion on upcoming cases all the time.

Mike at the Beach December 3, 2013 at 12:49 am

The SCACDL…assclowns. They know full well that Beatty made the assed-up and wholly inappropriate remarks. Beatty appears to be losing it, if for no other reason than it’s not smart to brag about your unethical behavior, even if everyone knows what you’re doing.

Pure Jerk December 3, 2013 at 1:12 am

I’m not sure if the point of this article was to A) make sure everyone realizes criminal def. Attys. Don’t ever break ethical rules? B) try to say wildly inappropriate remarks by bar none the least ethical justice in years is A-OK because some prosecutors broke the rules and were therefore APPROPRIATELY dealt with? C) keep us from asking why Beatty quit taking his medication? D) forget how laughable it is for SC’s least professional justice in generations — that’s saying something — to commennt on the professionalism of a room full of strangers he knows nothing about?

I Pick Out Sociopaths December 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm

funny how many use their cell/smartphones to secretly record hearings. Of course we all know how transcripts are at times altered and/or purged to protect not the innocent, but the judges and the prosecutors.

King-tut December 3, 2013 at 6:46 am

These defense attorneys need to take a long look in the mirror. Its the “Pot Calling the Kettle Black” when you have shitheads like Jake M. from Lexington in your ranks.

nitrat December 3, 2013 at 9:56 am

The difference is the defense lawyers can’t put innocent people in prison with fake evidence and withholding exculpatory evidence…and it could happen to YOU anytime a solicitor is up for re-election and needs to get his/her face on the TV.

TofuTurkey December 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

Your royal highness, King Tut, your sweet ass will be grateful for a high quality defense attorney in a criminal matter the day you need one.

Edgar December 3, 2013 at 8:33 am

Beatty is nothing but a dumb pawn for Toal. The judicial and attorney discipline system is nothing but corrupt politics. Get rid of Toal and it will improve. James Smith you again proved your ignorance on WIS last night.

Steve December 3, 2013 at 9:34 am

Why was Smith on WIS last night? I missed it and didn’t see it on the web,

scotty December 3, 2013 at 10:56 am

Interesting when Wilson was an AUSA she failed to prosecute a drug ring in a timely manner and it was dismissed. She told the Senior Judge she was busy in another case he checked her schedule and it was a lie. She then left the USA office she an her life partner move to Charleston.

I Pick Out Sociopaths December 3, 2013 at 11:40 pm

She is bisexual? She looks like “Chuckie” from that horror flick.

NSJS December 3, 2013 at 11:09 am

Are prosecutors outraged at being
told that they have to follow the rules? I didn’t get that from anything I
read. What I did get is that they are angry because Justice Beatty said
prosecutors do not follow the rules on a regular and widespread basis. There’s
a difference between saying “You should follow the rules” and
“You don’t follow the rules and have thus engaged in professional
misconduct and we will get you for that.” The first is good advice; the
second is an accusation and a threat. People don’t get upset about getting good
advice, but they do get upset over an accusation and threat. Whether the
accusation is true aside, the fact is that the author of this article
misrepresented the truth by making the outrage about getting good advice when
it was really about being accused of misconduct. Consequently, we are not only
left wondering whether we can trust prosecutors, but we are now also left
wondering whether we can trust the criminal defense bar. The latter does not
need to do anything to exacerbate the dominant perception that they make a
living by trying to “keep the bad guys out of jail.” Whether they
like it or not, that’s what people think, and the efforts of the defense bar to
characterize the work of its members as being an entirely altruistic and noble
endeavor to protect the accused who are presumed innocent, etc., falls on deaf
ears among members of the general public. This article just helps make the case
that criminal defense lawyers are slimey, publicity-seeking money whores.

Thomas December 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I take it that former solicitors and federal prosecutors who are now criminal defense attorneys are included in your over generalization? The simple truth is, there is no such thing as a fair trial in South Carolina.

I Pick Out Sociopaths December 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm

About 13 years ago, the US Supreme Ct issued an opinion that makes it much easier to sue prosecutors for misconduct. Cases that were originally dismissed without prejudice can come back to haunt many of them.

Thomas Brown December 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Many dozens and even hundreds of cases have had misconduct and they have been ruled as such in the SC Supreme court. “You don’t follow the rules and have thus engaged in professional misconduct and we will get you for that.” This is a warning that prosecutors/solicitors need to take that advice and not whine when the liars have to play by the rules. It seems like NSJS has problems with that.

TyronesMamaCollards December 3, 2013 at 11:42 am

We now have DNA evidence that proves a defendant’s guilt or innocence. The system is not broken because the system is all we got unless we choose to go back to the wild caveman model. People simply simply need to do the right thing and act appropriately. Prosecutors need to provide exculpatory evidence, and curb their prosecutorial zeal.

I think the Justice is doing the right thing. Everyone must cooperate for the system to work.

Dan on Devine December 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Good Gawd Almighty!!!! There is no more corrupt prosecutorial system in America than Toal’s ODC! Beatty, her do-boy absolutely knows that.

Chaslawyer December 4, 2013 at 10:40 am

What a hypocrite. The ODC has no due process, is all done with secret meetings with Toal and her staff and it’s all a matter of knowing somebody who talk to somebody for the poor lawyer. Ask anybody who has been involved. Lying by Coggiola and Seymour is the norm.

I Pick Out Sociopaths December 3, 2013 at 11:42 pm

I know a SC lawyer who stole files from the clerk of court.

I Pick Out Sociopaths December 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Why are soooo many lawyers now afraid of Beatty just because he fully intends on upholding the law????? Bawk! Bawk! Bawk! …. Gonna be interesting seeing more SC lawyers being stripped of their licenses …. haahahahaahahahahahaaaa!!

shifty henry December 4, 2013 at 10:23 am

Let Shifty share a true-life experience about Lexington County’s “rock star idol”, Donnie Myers. As an expert witness for the defense in a very high profile case I discovered several critical mistakes made by the investigators. These mistakes were the result of careless, sloppy work by SLED. On the stand, Myers gave me a tough grilling, but he couldn’t “handle the truth”.
Because he was pissed off at me, and looked foolish, in closing argument he called me a “high powered liar”. Then, in his interview by the State Paper, the next day’s front page article included his insults about me.
While my testimony was only part of the defense case, the jury did dismiss all felony charges against the defendant. In another trial, where I was to testify as a defense witness, Myers avoided having me called to the stand.
Shifty has a long memory, and doesn’t forget or forgive- unless Myers personally apologizes to me for calling me liar. Shifty is still waiting for that apology.

jimlewisowb December 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Is this Shifty
Good, this Donnie, Donnie Myers
Yea, that Donnie
Look man it was nothing personal
Yes, I know I called you a liar but name calling is what we do
Truth in the Courtroom
C’MON Man nobody ever tells the truth in a Courtroom
That’s right everyone lies
OK, if you don’t buy that how about the fact that most if not all the Judges are butt ass nakkied under their big black robes
Yes they are, why do you think Judges are always calling us up to the bench
That’s right they are showing off their hardware
Me, no man I always wear underwear
No, I don’t care for boxers or briefs
What’s that, sure there are other types to wear
Well, my current preference is Victoria Secrets Sequin Bow Tie Thong Panty
Back in Law School a Judge told me I looked like a dork wearing a bow tie
You may be right that I am still a dork but my pecker looks sharp

shifty henry December 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Donnie, if there is an apology in there – I DIDN’T HEAR IT…!!

thomas brown December 4, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Is the crooked lawyer,Townes Jones of Greenwood still allowed to practice after having at least one case overturned for misconduct? He has also had many others cases investigated and also proven misconduct but not overturned since telling lies, influencing jurors and withholding and manipulating evidence is the norm in South Carolina. What a crock. Most SC citizens stand for truth and resent the joke some prosecutors have made of their offices. Justice Beatty better have the support we can all offer or the one obviously honest judge we have will be run out of town. Demand high morality from solicitors/prosecutors

Lewis December 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

Just left a meeting of know it all lawyers in Columbia. Consensus there was Beatty will never be chief justice now, though Toal now telling him she will support him while wink winking at Hearn. Kittredge is clueless. James Smith is also clueless and just like the strong mayor thing will go down in the Toal Pleicones vote with his eyes wide open like a deer in headlights. The Sheheens are backing off of Toal realizing a vote for Toal is not in his best interest anymore.


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