Copper admitted failing to file a notice of appeal or withdraw in a criminal matter, self reported criminal arrests and convictions involving domestic violence, drugs and firearms and giving criminal discovery materials to the cellmate of his client. The hearing panel recommended an admonishment payment of costs and Based on Cooper’s admitted violations and his substance abuse problems, the Court suspended him for 6 months and ordered him into Lawyers Helping Lawyers.
Atwater represented a client in a claim against a municipality for damage to property after a water pipe burst twice. Atwater failed to diligently investigate or litigate the case which continued for almost 10 years. He was disciplined in other matters during the pendency of the case. The Court found he violated several rules of professional conduct and suspended him for 6 months.
Court of Appeals
North Charleston police attached a tracking device on Adams’ car without a warrant. An officer later pulled Adams over for failure to signal lane changes. A drug dog alerted on the car Adams was driving. Police discovered nearly 3 ounces of crack cocaine on Adams during a putdown shortly after the dog alert. He moved to suppress based on the violation of a statutory provision requiring a warrant to attach tracking devices. The trial court agreed the statute was violated, but, denied the motion on the grounds no constitutional violation occurred. The panel agreed that attaching the device was a search. However, it affirmed on the basis that the failure to signal lane changes were intervening criminal acts, the traffic stop was performed din a constitutional manner, the pat down was justified and the officer immediately indentified the objet as crack during the pat down.
Miller went with a friend to a crack house. He had a handgun out and waived it around. It discharged and the friend was shot and later died from the wound. At trial, witnesses testified there was no anger or dispute between Miller and the friend and the gun was being waived and handled recklessly. The trial court charged murder and involuntary manslaughter and charged that malice could be inferred from the use of a deadly weapon. Miller was convicted of murder and appealed. The panel reversed holding South Carolina Supreme Court authority prohibited the charge of inferred malice form the use of a deadly weapon when evidence exists that would excuse justify or mitigate the charge, such evidence was admitted at Miller’s trial and the charge was not harmless. Chief Judge Few added his view that the involuntary manslaughter charge was proper under the circumstances.
Atieh was charged with sexual touching of an employee. The trial court allowed four other employees to testify about similar incidents, but, gave limiting instructions. . Atieh moved for a directed verdict on a charge of 3rd degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. The trial court denied the motion. Atieh was convicted of ABHAN and 3rd degree Criminal sexual Conduct. The panel affirmed the ABHAN convictions holding the other bad acts evidence was relevant to prove a common pattern and the limiting instructions appropriately directed the jury’s deliberations. The panel reversed the conviction for criminal sexual conduct finding no evidence was presented to show intent to penetrate the victim.