June 7, 2012
June 01, 2012
Welcome to the South Carolina Bar's E-Blast!
June 7, 2012
E-Blast highlights upcoming activities, legal information and links to the Bar's website at www.scbar.org.
Click here for the most recent CLE Edition, which highlights upcoming CLE opportunities.
Free Counseling Services
Do you suspect a fellow attorney is in need of counseling for mental health-related issues? We do that—so please do not wait another day to encourage him or her to pick up the phone. LifeFocus Counseling Services provides up to five free hours of intervention counseling for Bar members experiencing emotional or stress-related issues. Lawyers using the service will remain completely anonymous. Call LifeFocus toll-free at (866) 726-5252 to be referred to a counselor 24 hours a day. The Lawyers Helping Lawyers Program is also available to help lawyers suffering from substance abuse or depression. Call the confidential, toll-free helpline at (866) 545-9590.
S.C Commission on Indigent Defense voucher payments suspended until July 1, 2012
The S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense will no longer be able to make payments on vouchers received for criminal conflicts, death penalty or civil appointment cases. Requests for payments this fiscal year are at or near record levels, and SCCID has expended the amount of funds it is authorized to expend as established by state law. Please continue to submit your vouchers, and when the FY 2012-2013 budget year begins on July 1, the Commission will be able to commence payment on those vouchers submitted, barring any unforeseen issues with the current budget process.
PMAP–Your guide to …
The Cloud. Cloud computing is a hot topic with lawyers, but many are confused about what the Cloud is and what it can do for them. For a simple introduction to Cloud computing, be sure to read Five Things Lawyers Should Know About the Cloud by Courtney Kennaday in the Bar Bytes column of the latest S.C. Bar News. If you have questions about using the Cloud in your practice, contact Courtney at email@example.com or (803) 799-6653, ext. 183.
Lawyer Referral Service renewals due June 30
The Lawyer Referral Service is a public service of the S.C. Bar, offering a simple, inexpensive and practical method of introducing people with legal problems to qualified lawyers. The LRS is now accepting renewal applications from its current members for the July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, year. Members who have not renewed by June 30 will drop out of rotation automatically. LRS thanks its current membership and reminds non-members that they may join at any time. For information on how to register, click here.
Wanted: Your photos for the South Carolina Lawyer magazine!
Check out pages 48-49 of the May issue of the South Carolina Lawyer for photos of your colleagues in action. We want to hear from you, too! Send an "action" photo of your community service or pro bono work to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in an upcoming issue. To view the feature online, click here.
52apps, a software company that builds one new iPad/iPhone app every week, is coming to Columbia, and you're invited to its launch event! Join other professionals from the area to learn about 52apps technology and submit your ideas for an app! The event will take place on Friday, June 15, at 11:30 a.m. at 1301 Gervias St., First Floor Theater, Columbia 29201. For more information, click here.
Applications being accepted for Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund
The USC School of Law is accepting applications for its annual distribution of funds from the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund. This fund was established in 2001 by retired USC Law Professor William McAninch to help alleviate the high debt incurred by young lawyers dedicated to serving the public sector. Applications are due July 15. The application, rules and FAQs are available here or by contacting Pamela Robinson at (803) 777-3405 or email@example.com.
Don't forget to check out tomorrow's Weekly Legislative Report! Updates are posted on Fridays during the legislative session.
Advance Sheet update
June 6, 2012
In this action seeking declaratory relief, the S.C. Supreme Court reiterated Anderson and held that the Florence County Republican Party (County Republicans) improperly certified candidates for the party primary. The Court rejected the County Republicans’ proposed interpretation of S.C. Code Ann. Section 18-13-1356 because it would render the statute meaningless. The County Republicans were directed to file a list of properly certified candidates to the Court, the Florence County Election Commission and the S.C. State Election Commission.
Florence Cnty. Democratic Party v. Florence Cnty. Republican Party, No. 27128, is available online.
The S.C. Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the respondent’s sentences for murder, first degree sexual conduct and burglary. The Court of Appeals had remanded the case for a new trial because of a question of whether the circuit court judge had properly considered the reliability of nonscientific testimony prior to introducing that testimony to the jury as State v. White, 382 S.C. 265, 676 S.E.2d 684 (2009), requires. The Court agreed that the trial court did err and did not determine the reliability of the testimony, but determined the error to be harmless.
State v. Tapp, No. 27129, is available online.
Justice Pleicones dissented in a separate opinion.
The Court affirmed in result this case involving an eyewitness identification of the petitioner at a police-orchestrated show-up. The Court overruled McLeod v. State, 260 S.C. 445, 196 S.E.2d 645 (1973), and held that a “full” in camera pretrial hearing is required to determine reliability and admissibility of eyewitness identification testimony, regardless of whether the witness knows the accused. However, the Court found the error of not holding such a hearing was harmless because the in-court identification had an independent origin.
State v. Liverman, No. 27130, is available online.
In this case arising out of a claim under the S.C. Torts Claim Act, the S.C. Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court’s decision to grant summary judgment to the respondents. The appellant was injured when she fell in a hole on city property and brought this claim to recover for her injuries. The court held that while the city may have had notice of actions creating the hole, since there was no evidence the city was on constructive notice of the hole itself, the appellant cannot recover under the Act.
Major v. Hartsville, No. 4979, is available online.
Judge Huff dissented in a separate opinion.
The court affirmed the dismissal of this case arising out of a settlement agreement pursuant to a divorce for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court held that subject matter jurisdiction can be raised at any time and that the circuit court reliance on the sealed family court order was not an error. Further, the family court had jurisdiction over the contract because the contract did not expressly deny the court continuing jurisdiction. Finally, because the contract was part of the divorce proceedings, per S.C. Code Ann. Sections 20-3-690 and 63-3-530, the family court had jurisdiction.
Hammer v. Hammer, No. 4980, is available online.
In this appeal for a conviction of trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, the court affirmed the trial court. First, the court found no error in the admission of the appellant’s testimony concerning the forfeiture of money in a civil action, as the appellant herself gave lengthy testimony as to where the money came from, opening the door to admission of the evidence. Next, the court found that testimony concerning post-arrest financial assistance to a co-conspirator was properly admitted to show bias. Third, the court found no error in the trial court’s denial of a mistrial for improper comments the solicitor made because the court issued a curative instruction. Finally, the court held that because no errors were found, the argument that the cumulative effect of these errors was prejudicial did not have merit and that even if there were errors, they were harmless.
State v. McEachern, No. 4981, is available online.
On appeal from family court, the court reversed the family court’s division of the parties’ marital property because the court improperly assessed the fair market value of the assets and debts of the parties and remanded this issue. The court also reversed the family court’s finding that the husband was to pay his child support payments through the clerk of court, as it was inconsistent with the family court’s conclusion that he could continue to pay as he had been paying, directly to the wife. However, the court affirmed both the award of primary placement of the child with the wife and the visitation schedule based upon the child’s best interests. Last, the court held that the issue of whether the family court erred in awarding attorney’s fees to the wife was not preserved for review.
Buist v. Buist, No. 4982, is available online.
The court held that a uniform traffic ticket cannot be used to commence judicial proceedings in the magistrate court on a charge of criminal domestic violence, first offense, unless the offense was committed in the presence of a law enforcement officer. Per S.C. Code Ann. Sections 22-3-710 and 56-7-10, the State may not commence judicial proceedings in the magistrate court without first obtaining an arrest warrant unless an officer uses a uniform traffic ticket in arrests for “traffic offenses” and offenses listed in S.C. Code Ann. Section 56-7-15. Here, Section 56-7-15 did not apply because the offense was not committed in the presence of a law enforcement officer, despite the fact that the offense was “freshly committed.”
State v. Ramsey, No. 4983, is available online.
The court affirmed the appellant’s conviction for criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (CDVHAN) and found no error in the trial court declining to charge the jury on the lesser-included offense of criminal domestic violence (CDV). The court reasoned that the mere existence of evidence that the appellant committed acts which constituted only CDV does not warrant a jury charge on simple CDV. Rather, the evidence must be sufficient to establish that the appellant committed only CDV instead of CDVHAN, and there was no evidence to draw such a conclusion on the record.
State v. Golston, No. 4984, is available online.
By order of June 1 the Court placed Richard J. Breibart on interim suspension. By order of June 4 the Court has appointed Mark Steven Barrow as trustee for the law practice of Richard J. Breibart.
The Committee on Character and Fitness invites comment on the petitions for reinstatement of Kenneth L. Edwards and Ivan James Toney. Comments on Mr. Edwards are due by July 21; comments on Mr. Toney are due by July 24.
James Bannon announces the opening of The Bannon Law Group, LLC located at 70 Pennington Dr., Ste. 16B, Bluffton 29910. (843) 815-4505.
Stephen "Chip" Burn announces the opening of Burn Law Firm, LLC located at 140 Gibson Rd., Lexington 29072. (803) 358-7220.
McNair Law Firm, PA announces that William Bradley Thomas has joined its Anderson office located at 132 E. Benson St., Ste. 200, 29624. (864) 226-1688.
Trammell Law Firm, PA announces that it is now Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC with offices remaining at 1650 E. Greenville St., Anderson 29621. (864) 231-7171.
Project Citizen Training, Bar Building
Ethics Advisory Committee Meeting, Nelson Mullins
Practice and Procedure Committee Meeting, Bar Building
Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Section Council Meeting, Bar Building
Family Law Section Council Meeting, Bar Building
Elder Law Committee Meeting, Bar Building
Professional Responsibility Committee Meeting, Bar Building
South Carolina Lawyer Editorial Board Meeting, Bar Building
To be added or deleted from the E-Blast mailing list, please contact Donna Oelhafen in Membership Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 799-6653, ext. 171. To change your e-mail address, you must log on to AIS at www.sccourts.org/ais.