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.