The Capital and Collateral Litigation unit has primary responsibility for murder direct appeals and federal habeas challenges to state convictions. As the name also suggests, the unit is responsible for post-trial death penalty litigation. In most cases where a death sentence has been imposed, the local solicitor is responsible for the trial and sentencing proceeding. The litigation by the unit will begin in the direct appeal and continue through post-conviction relief proceedings in circuit court; appeal from the post-conviction relief proceedings; and, federal challenges and appeals.
The unit is tasked with working to enforce the judgments and follow opinions issued in resolution of these criminal matters and the collateral challenges to those convictions and sentences. The unit attorneys practice in the South Carolina trial courts, the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of South Carolina, the Federal District Court of South Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States. Each case is handled with the same level of care, be it a death penalty case, or a plea to a lesser charge with a sentence of time served. The primary focus in representation for all of the unit’s cases is to ensure a just result under state and federal law.