Breaking the long silence

I’ve gone from writing a blog post a day to cranking one out here and there when I have time. There is a dumptruck full of stories, appellate opinions, and ideas that I want to write about, but life and my clients comes first. An update on what I’ve been doing:
3 weeks ago I was in bed with the flu. What a nightmare. After nearly a week, I got back to the office, trying to get caught up, but wound up in trial in Surfside Beach – our client was charged with defacing a political sign, arrested and jailed for making a political statement on a campaign sign in his own front yard. The jury agreed that this is America and there is a thing called the First Amendment, and found our client not guilty. More details here.
This past week we went to trial in York, S.C., on charges of chop shop violation. Our client’s custom built motorcycle was stolen from him by a SLED agent at a toys for tots run in Rock Hill, S.C., but he was not charged with anything. The SLED agent said that the VIN number did not look right to him. When our client tried to get his motorcycle returned to him, the SLED agent threatened to have him charged and arrested unless our client “cooperated” and gave him information on other members of a motorcycle club he was associated with. Information my client did not have and probably wouldn’t have given the agent if he did have it.
We were retained to get the motorcycle back – our client was not charged with any crime until 6 months later, after I threatened to sue if the motorcycle was not returned to him. At that point, the SLED agent had a warrant signed for chop shop violation (an allegation that he had somehow changed or altered the VIN number on the motorcycle), and had him arrested. At trial, a national insurance crime bureau agent and the SLED agent who stole the motorcycle lied under oath about the placement of identifying numbers on the motorcycle, claiming that one specific number found on the triple tree (a part of the forks) was a unique number that was associated with the VIN number of a stolen motorcycle. As it turns out, the number was in fact a part number that is stamped on potentially tens of thousands of triple trees as they roll out of the factory.
Our client had built the motorcycle himself, had receipts for every part on it, and the DMV sent an investigator to physically inspect the bike before they approved and titled it for him. It was legit.
At the close of the state’s case Tuesday aftenroon, the Court directed a verdict of not guilty for our client. Last night, the SLED agent personally delivered the motorcycle to our office where my client picked it up and took it home.
At the office today prepping for another trial that is supposed to start on Monday in Conway, S.C.

2 Responses to “Breaking the long silence

  • The specifics of the cases are very helpful to younger attorneys. Thanks! When there is downtime, it’s nice to see the issues that other people are involved in and how they handled it.
    I had a similar case suing the state to get an employer’s car back after an offense unrelated to the employee’s use of the vehicle. I also won, but it took a lot of weight lifting.

  • Both very well done jobs, Bobby

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