Micheal Slager’s lawyers are urging the court to dismiss charges, stating the presence of political foul play in the Walter Scott case.
Law enforcement personnel seem to be really pampered by the American courts. For this reason, we witness quite many cases of flagrant police brutality in our country. A court hearing on the Walter Scott case is to commence soon and, the attorneys for Micheal Slager are already asking the court to drop the charges. Are we to see another case of a Black man murder closed and the culprit set free? Well, find out more below from the reliable sources we have put together for you.
Attorneys representing former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, who fatally shot Walter Scott, are urging the court to drop his murder charge, reports WFMY.
With jury selection set for Oct. 31, Friday’s hearing was the last chance to raise legal issues. The defense team argues that Slager faces double jeopardy because the state and federal governments are prosecuting him for murder, said WFMY, a CBS News affiliate. Read more.
THE POST AND COURIER
That’s what attorneys for the former North Charleston policeman say should happen because state and federal authorities have been “double-teaming” Slager to prosecute him in Walter Scott case.
Their argument is based on a bid to upend the “dual sovereignty” doctrine, a precedent that has allowed both governments to prosecute someone if the alleged misconduct falls under their jurisdiction.
Slager’s defense team on multiple occasions leading up to the trial have alleged authorities have been colluding on joint interviews of witnesses rather than investigating on their own.
“The double-teaming of Slager … is a chilling example of how far politically motivated politicians and prosecutors will go to seek headlines and feather their own nests at the expense of a public servant … who had to make a split-second life or death decision that will be second-guessed by comfortable armchair quarterbacks,” defense attorneys Andy Savage and Donald McCune wrote in a filing this week. “This is unconscionable.”
State Circuit Judge Clifton Newman decided not to take up the dismissal motion during a hearing Friday because prosecutors had not prepared an argument against it. But 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson took issue with the defense contention.
“I reject the notion that this is a joint investigation,” she said. “While certainly there has been cooperation between the two, we are running parallel.”
Slager, 34, is charged with a state murder count in Scott’s shooting, which was filmed by a witness. He faces three charges, including a civil rights violation, in federal court.
The hearing was the last chance for opposing attorneys to bring up legal issues before jury selection Monday. Newman also heard arguments from an attorney for The Post and Courier, which has fought his decision to shut the public out of testimony last week by prosecutors about how state investigators have handled the case. The judge did not immediately decide that issue.
Slager has insisted he got into a fight with Scott, 50, after an April 2015 traffic stop and the motorist snatched his Taser and turned it against him. He fired in self-defense, he said, as Scott turned away. The bystander’s video showed Scott running when Slager fired eight shots, hitting him five times from behind.
Presented in a 23-page motion, the defense’s long-shot request for a dismissal is based largely on constitutional protections from double jeopardy, the concept stating that criminal defendants cannot be prosecuted twice for the same crime. Miller Shealy, a former federal prosecutor, is expected to orally argue in favor of the motion once the trial starts.
The filing also revealed federal prosecutors had offered Slager a chance to plead guilty before they even sought his indictment, in exchange for dropping a gun charge that carries a 10-year minimum sentence. Slager didn’t take the offer and was indicted two weeks later.
As a result, the defense lawyers said, Slager was being “crushed by the logistical, financial and fiscally frivolous policy of simultaneous prosecution.”
But the issue most discussed Friday was whether the judge should have closed a hearing last week.
— WFMY News 2 (@WFMY) October 29, 2016
Jay Bender, the attorney for The Post and Courier, told Newman the public should have the opportunity to evaluate authorities’ performance in the case by having access to testimony about that performance.
At the hearing, the defense raised questions whether State Law Enforcement Division agents had lied to Slager’s first lawyer to get him to agree to an interview. Savage, the attorney now leading the defense, sought to determine what Wilson and Chief Deputy Solicitor Bruce DuRant knew about that deception. Savage cited legal precedent in a case called State v. Quattlebaum for allowing prosecutors to testify in a closed-door proceeding.
Without discussing his reasons, the judge ejected most members of the public. The Post and Courier objected.
Bender stepped in later, asking the judge to reconsider the closure and, to make up for it, allow a transcript of the testimony to be made public. He said constitutional provisions favor openness and that the precedent did not require prosecutors’ testimony to happen in private. Read more.
The turn of events in the Walter Scott case is so far a reflection of how police officers treat Black lives. They continue to think they can kill African-Americans if they so wish and walk away with it. But maybe they are past their prime by now. Whatever Micheal Slager claims he’s killed an unarmed man. If he is really the victim, not the predator he should find the courage and prove his innocence to the court. Will the judge actually dismiss the case? We will update you about the trial as soon as we can.