South Carolina criminal appeal by The Mace Firm Wins New Trial

Our appellate attorneys recently won a criminal appeal in the South Carolina Court of Appeals.  The defendant was charged with two counts of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.  On appeal, our appellate attorneys in Myrtle Beach SC argued that the trial court made three errors: 1) a Batson error, during jury selection, the trial court found that the defense attorney’s reason for striking a juror was pretextual, 2) the court erred by failing to hold a hearing to address his motion for remand to reconstruct the record and 3) the court erred by failing to make an evidentiary ruling regarding the States introduction of prior bad acts because this evidence inflamed the jury.

Our South Carolina appellate attorneys argued in the initial brief that the trial court failed to follow Batson procedure during jury selection, and ultimately placed the burden on the defense to show that his reasons for striking certain jurors were not pretextual.  The appellate court argued with our appellate attorneys in South Carolina and reversed, granting our client a new trial.

The State was not required to meet its burden of establishing purposeful discrimination because the trial court placed the burden of disproving the pretext on the appellant.  The court failed to follow the Batson requirements set out by the South Carolina Supreme Court because the State simply argued that the defendant had not met his burden of giving a racially neutral reason for the strike.  When giving a reason to strike a juror, it must be race neutral but does not have to be specific.  The court also noted this in its opinion.

The State has filed a petition for rehearing in the Court of Appeals, and may appeal the case to the Supreme Court of South Carolina.  If you have questions about the appellate process or what is required to file an appellate brief, contact our appellate attorneys at the Mace Firm.


Meningitis Outbreak could be Devastating in South Carolina

So far 105 people have reported symptoms. The contaminated steroids were sent to several locations in South Carolina. In particular Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina was a delivery location for some of the contaminated steroid. This is a very dangerous situation and the threat to life is a very real consideration. If the contaminated material reach the spinal column the result could be death. While Tennessee leads the nation with the number of reported incidents, that does not mean that more may come from South Carolina at some point. The company responsible for this is New England Compounding Center. To date 8 people have died and several others have become sick from this steroid. It also appears this is not the first time this company has encountered problems with its production. Prior complaints led to an agreement with government regulators in the early 2000s for New England Compounding. The Centers for Disease Control is out tracking down everyone who may have received the steroid injections. It is great that we have an agency that will help protect the our health and safety, but the real question is what is New England Compounding doing? Any commercials or warnings on TV? Mass email and snail mail to the possible victims? How about beating the CDC to the consumer and trying to ensure they are safe. This is a typical case of a pharmaceutical company making its’ money and moving on to the next consumer. The real problem is where is the quality control for such a dangerous product. The company knows what these steroids are going to be used for and know how they will be administered to the patients. Intravenous injections deliver the steroid right into the nervous system. There is no getting it out once it is in. There is no way for the physician to know that the product is contaminated and will possibly kill the patient. It will not be long before several large personal injury law firms line up to help protect the patients who have been affected. For at least 8 people it is to late to help. The damage has already been done and no one can bring back the person that has died from meningitis. Our meningitis injury lawyers can help with anyone who is affected by this horrible infection. Several containers of the infected steroid have been sent to South Carolina and in particular Mt. Pleasant.

Please do not wait if you feel you feel that you have had a steroid injection over the past 6 months and are having any symptoms. Go to the CDC website to get further details.

Oral Arguments before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal

Twice this year, our federal appellate lawyer in South Carolina has argued before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In March of this year our Myrtle Beach attorney presented the case for appellate Roach before Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Judge Traxler, and Judge Shedd. This appeal was based on the lower court’s refusal to suppress evidence prior to trial. The defendant was charged with possession of a firearm and possession of heroine. These charges exposed the defendant to a minimum sentence of 10 years. The defendant went to trial in Charleston and was found guilty by a jury. After the trial a pre sentence report was generated and the defendant was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. This appeal was written shortly after the sentence was imposed.

Our appellate attorneys wrote the brief that enable the Fourth Circuit court to hear the case. Our argument before the court can be listened to by clicking on this link. Appellate Argument in Fourth Circuit. The end result was the appellate court affirmed the district court’s decision to allow the evidence to be introduced. After receiving notice of this decision, our the federal appellate lawyer filed a petition with the United States Supreme Court to review the decision. This type of review is very limited and rarely granted based on the number of cases that are sent to the Supreme Court. We have a very strong appellate department that has won many cases for our clients and many criminal defense attorneys send their cases to our office to handle the appeal.

Divorce Lawyers in South Carolina

In South Carolina, in order to get a no-fault divorce, the parties must have been separated for a year or more. If you reconcile, then separate again, the time starts over. The fault based grounds for divorce include physical cruelty, habitual drug use, adultery and desertion.  In order to prove adultery, the evidence must show that your spouse had the inclination and opportunity to have an affair. Most divorce lawyers in Myrtle Beach also like to have evidence of affection, for example, a picture of the spouse embracing a paramour. Circumstantial evidence can be used to prove adultery, but it must be clear and convincing. If one spouse is successful on a claim of adultery, the other spouse is barred from receiving alimony.

Habitual drug and alcohol abuse is difficult to prove, you have to be able to show that the other spouses drug or alcohol abuse was the cause of the break down of the marriage.  Physical cruelty can be proven in a variety of ways, however, proof of physical violence does not always establish physical cruelty as a ground for divorce.

The parties assets are usually divided 50/50 using a process known as equitable distribution. Any property that you owned before the marriage is considered to be separate property and not subject to equitable distribution unless it transmuted into marital property. For example, you buy a house, and a few years later you get married. You decide to add your spouse to the title of the home and live in the home for the duration of the marriage. The court may find that this home transmuted into marital property even though it was originally separate property.

The court considers many factors when deciding to award alimony in South Carolina, including the age of the parties, their standard of living, assets, wealth, and the length of the marriage. The court also considers the actual need of the party seeking alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay the alimony. However, if the party requesting alimony has committed adultery, that person will be barred from receiving any alimony.

If you have questions about divorce laws in South Carolina, contact the Mace Firm, we have divorce lawyers in Myrtle Beach SC who can assist you.

Fall HOG Motorcycle Rally In Myrtle Beach

The fall motorcycle rally has begun in North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach. This year there is expected to be more riders than in previous years. Already it appears that this group of riders is more aware of the dangers and road hazards than other groups of riders. Most of the riders are alert and the local bars are not overflowing with bikes. The amount of accidents and fatalities is usually lower for this rally than the spring rally. There is no question that there are still dangers present with the mix of motorcycles and cars, but from the start on Wednesday it seems that this will be a very low accident weekend. North Myrtle Beach is expecting a banner rally with several groups of riders return to the area after an intermittent absence over the past few years. This is import for the local economies as many business need this boost of tourism prior to the slow season beginning. North Myrtle Beach has stated that they will evaluated the success of the fall rally by examining the amount of money spent by the city versus the amount of money taken in by businesses. This is the same formula that Myrtle Beach used after the spring rally and confirmed that the city was loosing money.
Motorcycle accidents are very common in Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach during most of the year. The regularity of these accidents increases during the spring and fall rallies. Our office has Myrtle Beach motorcycle injury attorneys who are available to assist with anyone injured in a motorcycle accident.

Our lawyers have experience in representing riders and their passengers in these types of accidents. We have also represented the families of individuals who have lost their life during these rallies. Our experience in this area allows us to provide the best results we can for our clients. Our lead personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach is a member of the million dollar advocates forum. Having litigated several cases for wrongful death and acquiring million dollar plus results has been a real privilege. We are available in our Myrtle Beach law office to consult on personal injury cases.

Three Charged with Tax Fraud in Horry County

Tyrona Bellamy from Longs and Derrrick Burgess from Myrtle Beach have both been arrested for tax fraud violations. These charges stem from allegations that false tax returns were filed in order to get refunds from the government. This is not an uncommon type of indictment in these times. Usually the defendants arrested are just the tip of the iceberg for prosecutors. The real defendants that will be investigated are the individuals who set up the fake returns and took a percentage of the money on the back end of the transactions. These defendants are lucky in that it appears that they are only charged at the state level. This means that they are all likely to either get probation or some type of non-jail sentence if they plead guilty or they are found guilty. Unlike state court, federal indictments usually carry a jail sentence if convicted. This type of tax fraud is easily uncovered just by looking at the documents filed by the defendants. There is no massive paper trial that would require and FBI agent or IRS investigator to spends days trying to put together. This is simply a plain theft on paper. That also makes the case very easy to prosecute. A good criminal defense attorney in Myrtle Beach should be able to get the charges dismissed at some point depending on the prior record of a specific defendant. The call to indict and try a tax fraud case is not at a high point in this current economic state. The other factors that must be considered is whether there is enough loss of revenue for the government to spend money trying the case to verdict.

Many times the government will agree to a less charge in order to resolve the case short of trial. Many criminal defense lawyers in federal court can handle any type of tax fraud case. Our Myrtle Beach criminal lawyers are very capable in the representation of individuals and companies related to tax issues.

Shots Fired at Myrtle Beach Nightclub

According to the Myrtle Beach police, two groups of people were arguing inside Kono Lounge, and security escorted the groups outside. However, they continued to argue in the parking lot and witnesses reported hearing shots fired in the parking lot. No one was hurt and no one saw the shooter, however, shell casing were found in the parking lot.

Altercations often occur at nightclubs, and may result in injury. In this case, if the shooter had injured someone, he could have been charged with attempted murder, assault and battery with intent to kill, possession of a firearm, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Even though nobody was hurt in this case, the shooter could also have been charged with pointing and presenting a firearm, discharging a firearm in public and disorderly conduct. It would be important to contact a criminal lawyer in Myrtle Beach, as these charges are serious.

The shooter may also be sued in a civil action as well for battery, assault or intentional infliction of emotional distress. The bar may also be liable for negligent security. The bar may also incur liability of it can be proven by a personal injury lawyer in Myrtle Beach that the bar was aware the shooter was drunk an continued to serve him alcohol.

In order to prove battery, a personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach would have to prove that a harmful or offensive touching occurred. Unlike assault, actual contact must be shown to prove battery. Assault is the causing of reasonable apprehension of an immediate harm or offense contact to the person of another. For assault, a person needs to show intent and the resulting apprehension.

Under these facts, a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer in South Carolina may prove negligent security by showing that the owner of the premises (the bar) could foresee the possibility of an attack occurring on the property. Negligent security can also be shown by showing that there was a failure to properly protect guests on the property, and is a common action against hotels, apartments, condos and amusement parks.

If you have questions about assault, battery or negligent security, contact the the Mace Firm, we have attorneys in Myrtle Beach who practice criminal law and personal injury.

Child Support Laws in South Carolina

In all cases in which child support is an issue, the family court considers the child support guidelines in South Carolina. As a result, t is important to hire a divorce attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC who is knowledgeable about child support guidelines. The guidelines are based on the idea that a child should receive the same financial support that they would have received if the parents were still living together. According to the court case of Mitchell v. Mitchell, the family court should consider the following factors when establishing child support: both parent’s income, the ability to pay child support, education, expenses, and assets and the facts and circumstances of each case.  Also, whether or not the medical insurance or childcare is an expense will also come into play when calculating child support. The children should have the same standard of living they would have had if the parties were still together.

When parents combined incomes are high and the guidelines do not cover the amount, the court considers the child support amount on a case by cases basis. Therefore, if you are seeking child support in Horry County, it is important to speak with a family law attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC to explain your rights. South Carolina case law states that, “a child is entitled to live and be supported in a life style commensurate with the current income of his parents.” see Mallett v. Mallet 323 S.C. 141, 149, 423 S.Ed.2d 804, 809 (Ct. app. 1996).

Another issue that must be addressed is whether a child has an extraordinary medical expense. The child support guidelines assume that the parent managing custody of the minor child will be responsible for up to $250.00 per year in uninsured medical expenses. Extraordinary medical expenses are those reasonable and necessary uninsured medical expenses in excess of $250.00 per child each year.

If you have questions about child support in South Carolina, contact the Mace Firm, we have attorneys in Myrtle Beach who practice family law who can assist you.

Couple Charged with Selling Neighbor’s Dog on Craigslist

A couple in Leechburg, Pennsylvania is facing criminal charges after allegedly selling a Rottweiler puppy belonging to their neighbor on Craigslist. The puppy wandered into their yard along with another dog, a golden retriever mix. The couple returned the retriever mix but allegedly told police that the Rottweiler puppy had run away.

The puppy’s owner believed that his dog was inside his neighbor’s home and contacted police. When the police showed up at the couple’s home, their five year old son explained that his mother had given the puppy “to a woman from the Internet.” The Rottweiler has been returned to his owner and the couple have been charged with false reporting, two counts of conspiracy and for failing to make a reasonable effort to return lost property.

Most criminal defense lawyers in South Carolina are aware that South Carolina has a specific dog stealing crime statute, which states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to steal a dog in which any other person has a right of property.” see Code of Laws of South Carolina 1976 section 16-13-60. Dog stealing is a common crime, and is a problem in the Myrtle Beach area.

A pet owner may also take action to recover damages from the finder of a lost pet through the traditional tort actions of conversion and trespass. A personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC would file a civil action in Conway, SC seeking monetary damages. In order to prove trespass in a civil action, a personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC would allege that there was an intent to cause unlawful or unauthorized entry on land of another. To prove the intentional tort of conversion, a myrtle beach personal injury lawyer must prove purposeful or knowing dominion or control over another person’s property.

The original owner of a lost dog may wish to recover actual possession of the dog in addition to monetary damages if it is still alive. Generally, in South Carolina you need to be able to prove ownership of the lost dog and the wrongful detention by another person. This is called a replevin action, which was a common law remedy created to restore possession of property to the party who is entitled to have possession of it.

Two-Car Crash in Myrtle Beach Area

Another deadly car accident occurred in Myrtle Beach, SC over the weekend. One man was killed and another is charged with felony DUI. The accident occurred near the Pirateland Campground on U.S. 17 Business in Myrtle Beach. The crash happened when a Jeep Grand Cherokee crossed the grass median from the northbound lane and collided head-on with a van in the southbound lane. The van had five passengers according to reports, and one of those passengers was killed.

This is a tragic accident and it appears that underage drinking played a key role. The driver of the Jeep Cherokee was underage and was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the accident. He is in a great deal of trouble and will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Myrtle Beach to defend him. However, he will likely go to jail for quite some time since another person was killed in the accident.

The victim’s families may also sue the driver civilly and will need to hire a wrongful death attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC to assist them. Another legal action is known as Dram Shop Liability, which basically states that those individuals who make a profit from the sale of alcohol are accountable for the injuries and death resulting from the irresponsible selling of alcoholic beverages. It is unknown at this time at what location the driver of the vehicle purchased alcohol or where he consumed alcoholic beverages, which will be important information that must be discovered by the victim’s family’s wrongful death attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC in they wish to pursue a claim under Dram Shop Liability.

The other passengers in the van that were injured will also likely hire accident attorneys located in Myrtle Beach, SC to assist them with recovering monetary damages for their pain and suffering.