Posted in: Lawyers › Young Lawyers Division, Awards
Sutania A. Fuller likes to talk about the power of her pen - and for good reason. As an assistant prosecutor in the 11th circuit, she understands the weight of her words and courtroom decisions. Her passion lies in educating young people on the law and equipping them with the knowledge necessary to make smart decisions for their futures. She dedicates her free time to the cause by volunteering countless hours with the SC Bar Young Lawyers Division, various committees and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.
Every story has a beginning, and Fuller’s journey to assistant prosecutor began before she was even in preschool. She recalls knowing that she wanted to be an attorney from the young age of two and how her grandfather used to call her his ‘little lawyer.’
“I was inquisitive and filled with curiosity as a child – maybe just plain nosey,” Fuller remembers. “I asked a lot of questions, and I always needed to know why. My reasons for wanting to be a lawyer changed over the years, of course, but the goal remained the same. Everything I did growing up was done with going to law school in mind and becoming the first lawyer in my family.”
Her passion for educating youth started in college while working on her senior thesis exploring the factors that impacted the recidivism rate of juveniles. Fuller’s research led her to a harsh reality: once young offenders landed in the adult system, their chances of reoffending increased. In her role as a prosecutor, she’s seen the cycle firsthand.
“I want to truly reach them before I have to prosecute them,” she says. “I want to share case stories with them about split-second decisions that often cost an 18 to 25-year-old several years of their life. I share these actions with young adults that result in criminal convictions that create potential lifelong criminal records. I believe that the more young adults hear about these situations, the more they will think before they get in a car with a friend, the more they will choose a different path.”
And now, having fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming the first lawyer in her family, Fuller’s making sure others have the opportunity to chase their dreams, too.
“The moments of most joy are those when victims feel heard and seen and when second-chance offenders do not reoffend. I have had the privilege of handling some very challenging cases. Some of these cases where the people involved believed they would never get justice or be heard. It has truly been rewarding to bring closure and justice in these situations.”
Fuller’s dedication to her work and passions haven’t gone unnoticed. She has a bookshelf worthy collection of awards, including three consecutive South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division President’s Awards. She was most recently honored with the 2020 John R. Justice Community Leadership Award from the South Carolina Solicitors’ Association. The award is presented to a prosecutor who has exhibited exemplary citizenship through community involvement and executed innovative ideas to advance public safety and the criminal justice system.
“Receiving the John R. Justice Community Leadership Award is truly humbling and a true honor considering the life Solicitor John R. Justice lived. I serve because I have a passion for service and for making a positive impact in this world,” Fuller said regarding her latest accolade. “I just hope that I can make at least a small fraction of the impact Solicitor Justice made in our profession, in our state, and in this country.”