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Feb 19, 2020

State seeks to end coding errors that keep people locked up

  A simple typo or misinterpretation of a judge’s handwriting could cost the state of South Carolina thousands of dollars when an inmate is held longer than sentenced.  In 2019, the South Carolina Department of Corrections reported that errors in calculation of sentences cost the state $492,117 by holding inmates 7,549 days over their release […]

Jun 26, 2018

South Carolina man gets life in prison for killing, kidnap

BEAUFORT (AP) A South Carolina man has been sentenced to life in prison in the shooting death of a man and the kidnapping of the victim’s friend. The Associated Press reported Tyrone Anthony Wallace Jr. of St. Helena Island was sentenced June 22 in Beaufort. Wallace was convicted in the 2015 death of Vernon Steve. Wallace […]

Apr 4, 2018

Criminal Practice – New test established to invoke sentencing relief

An appellant seeking habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 satisfied the requirements of the law’s savings clause because a retroactive change in 4th Circuit law – occurring after the time for direct appeal and the filing of his first § 2255 motion – rendered his applicable mandatory minimum unduly increased, resulting in a fundamental […]

Feb 22, 2018

Man gets 25 years in deaths of 2 South Carolina road workers

AIKEN (AP) A South Carolina man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in a hit and run that killed two transportation department employees. Court records in Aiken show that 30-year-old Lonnie Dean Miller of Clearwater recently pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide, two counts of hit and run involving death and […]

Feb 9, 2018

Sentencing set next week for former South Carolina lawmaker

COLUMBIA(AP) Sentencing is set next week for a former South Carolina lawmaker who has pleaded guilty to charges in an investigation of corruption at the Statehouse. The sentencing of former Lexington Rep. Rick Quinn by Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen is set for 9:30 a.m. Monday in Beaufort. Quinn pleaded guilty to misconduct in office in […]

Feb 8, 2018

Criminal Practice – Ineffective Assistance of Counsel – Sentencing – Constitutional – Ex Post Facto Clause

Robinson v. State (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-010-18, 9 pp.) (John Kittredge, Acting Chief Justice) (Donald Beatty, C.J., not participating) Appealed from Greenville County (Perry Gravely, PCR Judge) S.C. S. Ct. Holding: Between the time of petitioner’s alleged offense (first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor) and the time of his indictment, the General Assembly increased […]

Jan 16, 2018

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Death Penalty – Deficiency of Counsel – Admissibility of Mitigating Evidence

Bowman v. State (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-008-18, 21 pp.) (Donald Beatty, C.J.) Appealed from Dorchester County (James Lockemy, Post-Conviction Relief Judge) S.C. S. Ct. Holding: This court has long held that evidence in the sentencing phase of a capital trial must be relevant to the character of the defendant or the circumstances of the crime; […]

Dec 14, 2017

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Procedurally Unreasonable – Downward Departure Arguments

United States v. Blue (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-216-17, 13 pp.) (Roger Gregory, C.J.) 16-4537; Dec. 12, 2017; USDC at Greensboro, N.C. Holding: In imposing a within-Guidelines sentence on defendant for armed robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, the district court made cursory reference to two of defendant’s arguments for a downward departure (his […]

Oct 31, 2017

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Prior Conviction – AISBI – Crime of Violence

United States v. Thompson (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-192-17, 10 pp.) (Diana Gribbon Motz, J.) 15-4685; Oct. 26, 2017; USDC at Raleigh, N.C. (W. Earl Britt, S.J.) 4th Cir. Holding: Under Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), when considering whether a prior crime constitutes a crime of violence under the residual clause of […]

Oct 31, 2017

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Child Pornography Possession – Downward Departure – Autism Diagnosis

United States v. Zuk (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-191-17, 26 pp.) (Paul Niemeyer, J.) 16-4727; Oct. 24, 2017; USDC at Statesville, N.C. (Richard Voorhees, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: The trial judge abused his discretion when, based almost entirely on consideration of defendant’s recent autism diagnosis, he dramatically departed from the USSG recommendation of 240 months and […]

Oct 24, 2017

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Prior Conviction – Crime of Violence – W.Va. Aggravated Robbery

United States v. Salmons (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-184-17, 10 pp.) (J. Harvie Wilkinson III, J.) No. 16-4316; Oct. 12, 2017; USDC at Charleston, W.Va. (Thomas Johnston, C.J.) 4th Cir. Holding: At the time of defendant’s West Virginia conviction for aggravated robbery, that crime was defined as the successful or attempted commission of a “robbery by […]

Oct 5, 2017

Criminal Practice – Within-Policy-Statement-Range Sentence – Nonfrivolous Arguments – Court’s Failure to Explain Reasons

  U.S. v. Slappy (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-181-17, 19 pp.) (Gregory, C.J.) (Shedd, J., dissenting) No. 16-4010, Sept. 22, 2017. Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at Wilmington. (Fox, S.J.) 4th Cir. Holding: Where the defendant-offender presented arguments in favor of a within-policy-statement-range sentence and the district court […]

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