In spotlight as Alex Murdaugh trial judge, Clifton Newman’s own legal story unfolded in SC

In spotlight as Alex Murdaugh trial judge, Clifton Newman’s own legal story unfolded in SC
In spotlight as Alex Murdaugh trial judge, Clifton Newman’s own legal story unfolded in SC

WALTERBORO, S.C. (AP) — The decide who sentenced Alex Murdaugh on Friday to life in prison for killing his spouse and son has earned consideration and plaudits for his even-handed demeanor all through the trial and for his dressing-down of the once-prominent lawyer simply earlier than he despatched him to jail.

Choose Clifton Newman, a South Carolina native who attended racially segregated colleges in the Fifties and Sixties, addressed Murdaugh straight throughout roughly 20 minutes of feedback that ranged from invoking the recollections of the defendant’s slain son Paul and spouse Maggie to lamenting what he described as assaults on the credibility of the state’s justice system throughout the trial.

He noted that Murdaugh came from a prominent family of lawyers in the area and {that a} portrait of his grandfather, a former prosecutor, as soon as hung in the courthouse the place he was tried – till Newman had it eliminated to advertise a good trial.

Among the many most poignant moments got here when Newman spoke to Murdaugh about his spouse and son. Referring to the taking pictures deaths and lies Murdaugh admitted telling all through the investigation, the decide stated: “Inside your own soul, you need to cope with that. And I do know you need to see Paul and Maggie throughout the night time time whenever you’re making an attempt to fall asleep and I’m certain they arrive and go to you.”

“All day, and each night time,” stated Murdaugh, who maintained his innocence throughout the sentencing listening to.

“And they’re going to proceed to take action and and mirror on the final time they seemed you in the eyes,” the decide then replied.

Juror dismissed in Alex Murdaugh trial: Here’s why and more on the jury

The decide additionally remarked on how the case was an “assault on the integrity of the judicial system in our state,” referring to the distinguished place that Murdaugh’s household held as longtime prosecutors in the world – together with the protection workforce’s efforts to impugn investigative strategies all through the trial.

“As a member of the legal neighborhood – and a widely known member of the legal neighborhood – you practiced legislation earlier than me, and we’ve seen one another at numerous events all through the years,” he stated.

Newman’s 40-year-old son, Brian, died simply weeks earlier than the Murdaugh trial would pull Newman away from his residence for greater than a month. As he handed down Murdaugh’s sentence for killing his own son, he added a small additional contact.

“For the homicide of Paul Murdaugh, whom you most likely liked a lot, I sentence you to jail for murdering him for the remainder of your pure life,” Newman stated.

Here is what to find out about Choose Clifton Newman

Newman was born in 1951 in South Carolina’s rural Williamsburg County and grew up there attending racially segregated colleges, The Submit and Courier reported in a profile of the decide final yr.

Newman was the primary individual in his household to be born in a hospital. When he was 3-years-old, his mom moved to New York to take a job as a home employee for a Columbia College professor’s household, leaving him in the care of grandparents and an aunt.

Newman graduated from highschool as his class valedictorian in 1969, a yr earlier than his native college district desegregated. In highschool, he performed the function of a lawyer from New York Metropolis in a play based mostly on a landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Courtroom college desegregation case, an expertise that helped propel him right into a profession in the legislation.

Choose Clifton Newman locations his gavel down after sentencing Alex Murdaugh to life in jail on the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro on Friday, March 3, 2023 after he was discovered responsible on all 4 counts. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Submit and Courier/Pool

“To return from a rural neighborhood, a farming neighborhood, and to go from that state of affairs to enjoying the function of a lawyer was fairly inspiring,” Newman informed the American Bar Affiliation in 2017.

After incomes an undergraduate diploma from Cleveland State College and graduating from Cleveland-Marshall School of Legislation, Newman started training legislation in Cleveland. He returned to South Carolina in 1982 and began a non-public legislation follow.

Newman served as a protection legal professional, a civil practitioner and a prosecutor earlier than 2000, when the state Common Meeting elected him to serve as a Circuit Courtroom decide.

“I’ve run the gamut, as far as dealing with all elements of the legislation,” Newman informed the ABA.

Newman was assigned to the 2016 trial of Michael Slager, a white former police officer who fatally shot Walter Scott, an unarmed Black man, in the again after a visitors cease.

In 2021, the chief justice of South Carolina’s Supreme Courtroom appointed Newman to deal with the prison issues involving Murdaugh.

This text initially appeared on Greenville Information: Alex Murdaugh trial judge, Clifton Newman’s legal story unfolded in SC

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