Category Archives: South Carolina

Charleston School of Law to mark public defender decision with symposium


The S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense and the Charleston School of Law will host a major national symposium commemorating the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, a 1963 landmark case which recognized the Sixth Amendment right to counsel for all criminal defendants who cannot afford an attorney, and which led to the creation of public defender systems throughout the United States.

The symposium will be held on Friday, September 20, 2013, at the Charleston Museum, and will feature 28 prominent jurists, scholars and practitioners from across the country who will address the evolution of public defense, the increasing demands on the criminal defense practitioner,  prospects for extending the right to counsel in specific types of civil actions, and challenges in adequately funding state and federal public defense systems to comply with the requirements of Gideon and subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Many of the symposium’s speakers and panelists have participated in key Supreme Court cases in the evolution of the right to counsel. The symposium’s keynote speaker will be Abe Krash, a retired partner with Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. Krash worked with Abe Fortas, Gideon’s lead counsel, in preparing the Gideon appeal. Fortas later was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  William Hubbard, President-elect of the American Bar Association and a partner at Nelson Mullins law firm in Columbia will deliver introductory remarks and Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal will lead one of the panel discussions.

Read the entire story.

Union County, SC, needs another Public Defender

With an overpopulated jail and only one public defender contracted to handle 80% of the approximately 1,000 cases each year in Union County, South Carolina, the Sixteenth Circuit Public Defender Harry Dest is asking the County Council for help. The county prosecutor (apparently he’s the “County Solicitor”), Kevin Brackett, even joined in the request and offered to cut his own budget to contribute to the new PD’s salary. From the Union Daily Times:

“I endorse everything he said,” Brackett said. “You could add five more people to my office, and that would only mean seven people are calling Erik Delaney every day. Right now, it’s two people.”

Brackett also said the issue was not only keeping the jail clear, but also an issue of public safety.

“Talk is cheap,” Brackett said. “I’ll put my money where my mouth is. I’ll help kick-start it by reducing my budget by $15,000.”

Brackett said Dest’s office is also getting another $11,000 from the state this year.

Clerk of Court Freddie Gault added that an additional attorney in the public defender’s office could possibly double or triple the amount of cases going through court.

Dest also asked council to consider hiring the additional attorney at a salary range comparable to that of York County, which is a minimum $47,000 for the first year, $51,000 for the second year, $55,000 for the third year, and $58,000 for the fourth year.

So, hey, if you’re in South Carolina or looking to relocate, there might be a job opening soon… Butler County, NE, is also seeking a part-time public defender, FYI.