When petitioner walked to the witness stand at her murder trial, the jury saw that she was shackled. It is unclear from the record whether the jury could view petitioner’s shackles at other times during the trial. However, petitioner’s co-defendant mentioned shackles in his opening statement, and the charges in this case stem from petitioner’s allegedly violent conduct. The shackles could have suggested the court was concerned she would experience a violent outburst or, more problematically, their appearance after opening statements (when the court was informed that petitioner’s bond had not been extended) could imply petitioner exhibited some conduct between opening statements and the beginning of testimony that necessitated shackling.
Petitioner has demonstrated prejudice from her trial counsel’s failure to object to the shackles and to certain testimony. We reverse the denial of petitioner’s petition for post-conviction relief.
A law enforcement officer testified that, while not everyone who was involved in two separate beatings of the victims was charged, he believed that “everyone involved . . . was guilty.” There was conflicting testimony as to petitioner’s assault or attempted assault on the victim. Based on the specific facts of this case and the impact of counsel’s error, petitioner has demonstrated prejudice.
Reese v. State (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-071-23, 14 pp.) (Aphrodite Konduros, J.) Appealed from Richland County Circuit Court (Jocelyn Newman, J.) Kathrine Haggard Hudgins for appellant; Alan McCrory Wilson, David Spencer, Mark Reynolds Farthing and Joshua Abraham Edwards for respondent. South Carolina Court of Appeals