Friday, November 14, 2008

Here's something to chew on

Had a very interesting lunchtime talk (over barbecue) with fellow Houston criminal defense attorney Mark Bennett and South Carolina defense attorney Bobby G. Frederick about differences in the practice of criminal law here and in South Carolina.

The first difference is there is no attorney-led voir dire in South Carolina.  The judge asks the questions and the attorneys are allowed to submit questions but selection is made largely in the dark due to the lack of information.  Bobby posted this article on his blog about jury selection in South Carolina.

The State of South Carolina has a public defender system the provides counsel for indigent citizens accused of felony offenses.  However, if you've been charged with a misdemeanor offense with a maximum sentence of 30 days or less, you're SOL.  The system is funded by the state and the local chief public defender is selected by vote of the county bar.

Judges in South Carolina are selected by the Legislature after a vetting process.  There is no popular election of state judges.

All in all it was a very fascinating look at how another jurisdiction handles matters.  Thanks for the lunch and thanks for the conversation.

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