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The Evolution of Jury Charges

In a few recent S.C. Supreme Court cases (Pantovich & Burdette), the court has moved away from jury charges that have the appearance of a trial judge improperly commenting on the facts. Last week the court eliminated the jury charge that malice may be inferred from the use of a deadly weapon. This week the court eliminated the jury charge of "good character alone" charge ("Good character evidence alone may create a reasonable doubt as to the commission of the crime charged").

Keep in mind, these cases are referring to jury charges. The court is not eliminating or striking down statutes and/or precedent when it comes to substantive law that can be used to argue in motions and other areas.

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A Defendant's Case and Their Rights

The defendant has a fundamental right to testify or not testify. · State v. Rivera, 402 S.C. 225 (2013). While the defendant as a right to be present at trial, they do not have a right to be absent

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