The Champion

May 2016 , Page 08 

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NACDL News: New Report Investigates South Carolina Courts That Convict and Jail Defendants Without a Lawyer Present

By Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

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Municipal and magistrate courts in South Carolina routinely violate the Sixth Amendment rights of individuals who are accused of low-level offenses and cannot afford an attorney, says a report by NACDL and the ACLU.

On April 4, 2016, NACDL, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the ACLU of South Carolina released a new and critically important report, Summary Injustice: A Look at Constitutional Deficiencies in South Carolina’s Summary Courts. In South Carolina, the bulk of criminal cases are low-level offenses heard in municipal and magistrate courts, collectively referred to as summary courts. These courts often fail to inform defendants of the right to counsel, refuse to provide counsel to the poor at all stages of the criminal process, and force defendants who cannot afford to pay fines to serve time in jail instead.

 

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This report documents the constitutional violations NACDL and ACLU attorneys observed in 27 differ

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  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
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