Murdaugh judge’s own legal story unfolded in South Carolina

Murdaugh judge’s own legal story unfolded in South Carolina
Murdaugh judge’s own legal story unfolded in South Carolina

The choose who sentenced Alex Murdaugh on Friday to life in jail for killing his wife 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 Nineteen Sixties, addressed Murdaugh straight throughout roughly 20 minutes of feedback that ranged from invoking the recollections of the defendant’s slain son Paul and wife Maggie to lamenting what he described as assaults on the credibility of the state’s justice system throughout the trial. He famous that Murdaugh got here from a distinguished household of attorneys in the world 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 wife and son. Referring to the taking pictures deaths and lies Murdaugh admitted telling all through the investigation, the choose stated: “Inside your own soul, it’s a must to cope with that. And I do know it’s a must to see Paul and Maggie throughout the evening time once you’re trying to fall asleep and I’m certain they arrive and go to you.”

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

“And they’re going to proceed to take action and replicate on the final time they appeared you in the eyes,” the choose then replied.

The choose 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 staff’s efforts to impugn investigative strategies all through the trial.

“As a member of the legal group — and a well known member of the legal group — 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. Brian Newman, a former Columbia metropolis councilman, died of a cardiac issue, in keeping with The State newspaper in Columbia.

On Friday, because the choose 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 beloved a lot, I sentence you to jail for murdering him for the remainder of your pure life,” Newman stated.

Newman was born in 1951 in South Carolina’s rural Williamsburg County and grew up there attending racially segregated colleges, The Publish and Courier reported in a profile of the choose final 12 months.

Newman was the primary particular person in his household to be born in a hospital. When he was 3 years outdated, 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 12 months 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.

“To return from a rural group, a farming group, and to go from that state of affairs to taking part in the function of a lawyer was fairly inspiring,” Newman advised 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 practising legislation in Cleveland. He returned to South Carolina in 1982 and began a personal legislation apply.

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

“I’ve run the gamut, so far as dealing with all points of the legislation,” Newman advised 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 site visitors cease.

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

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