Eric Bland recaps the Capital City Club event last week with Mandy and Sarah Ford. He also talks about interviewing Dr. Kenny Kinsey and shares two new words from EB’s Law Library.


Hello Premium Members, EB here. Moving towards the end of February can you believe it? Almost two months into this year into 2024. It just, that toilet paper roll rolls faster the closer you get to the end. But looks like springs around the corner, starting to see birds chirping and coming out and feeling the sun a little bit higher, a little bit hotter in the morning. Can’t wait till spring.

Last Thursday night was awesome with Mandy Matney and Sarah Ford and seeing David, we were at the Capital City Club in Columbia, South Carolina. And there was some really heartfelt talk by Mandy and Sarah about victims and what the system needs to do to really make sure that the victims continue to have a voice and continue to be the focal point. Sarah explained that victims are actually in our state constitution victims rights, not only is it in our Constitution, but it’s codified by statute. And so in court cases, not only is there a victims advocate, but the victims have an absolute right to participate in all the different phases of a matter that is in criminal litigation. 

It’s true that the caption is always the state of South Carolina versus blank, who’s the defendant or the United States government versus blank who is the defendant. What that means is the state is an injured party, in addition to the actual victim of the crime, whether it’s a criminal domestic violence situation, murder, God forbid a rape or robbery. In addition to the actual victims, the individuals who are victims, the state itself is a victim. And that’s why sometimes, even in cases where women in a criminal domestic violence situation choose not to prosecute because out of fear or reprisal from the person who beat them, or they just feel like they, you know, it’s sad that they financially can’t be on their own, the state will sometimes still go forward on those kind of charges. It happens oftentimes when there’s feuds between family members or feuds between neighbors, sometimes they want to settle it civilly with a payment or some kind of dispensation that’s given and oftentimes the state will say, well, that’s great, you guys settled your differences, but we’re still the injured party. So Sarah talked about the fact that she oftentimes has to muscle her way to a courtroom to tell an old school judge, hey, by the way, you do realize that the victim’s rights are, you know, part of our state constitution, and they’re codified in our state statutes. And, you know, we have a right to be present. And that the victim who’s my client has a right to designate me to champion their rights in court. So I actually learned a lot I, you know, I didn’t really know a lot of this about what victims rights are. And, you know, it’s a pretty big office that Sarah has that has five attorneys and a number of paralegals, and they go all around the state to all different courtrooms, to make sure that, you know, the things that happened in the Bowen Turner case that Mandy and Liz have talked about at length on their True Sunlight Podcast, that they don’t happen in other courtrooms and they won’t happen as long as the victims have a voice and to hear Mandy talk about how important that victims are, to the work that she does. And really, that was what made her want to get involved in true crime journalism is for the victims, so that they have a voice and that they’re not forgotten and really, I think the most important person to do that for her was Sandy Smith. She talked about meeting Sandy in 2019, I think it was. And in fact, Sandy was there at the function last Thursday night, as well as a good friend of ours, Brooke Bronson and a whole bunch of other good listeners that I’ve gotten to know, some people that I met at the Hilton Head book signing on December 31. 

But Mandy talks about how personal her relationship is with Sandy. How she just wants to get answers and how 2024 is going to be the year of Stephen Smith, which kind of dovetails into the second thing that I’m going to talk about, and that is, Liz and I had just the absolute honor of interviewing Dr. Kenny Kinsey. And as all of you remember, Kenny Kinsey was the star of the show just stole the spotlight at the Murdaugh murder trial. And, you know, he is really a rising star in crime investigation, expert witness work. He told us that he was originally supposed to play a very small role in that trial, that he was brought in actually just to confirm some of the work that the other expert witnesses did in that case for the state. Kenny is retired, he was a deputy chief of police. And if you know anything about police departments, the deputy chief is the one who really runs the nuts and bolts of the police department. The chief of police has the final word, but it’s the deputy chief who puts those policies and procedures in place and deals with all the subordinates and he had retired and he became an expert witness and he actually testified more for the defense believe it or not, mostly in civil cases in you know, excessive force cases or use of force cases.

But in this particular case, in the Murdaugh case, he was working on behalf of the state and he was supposed to have this very minor role and it turned out that when they you know, heard him talk, you know, it’s like I said last night on Twitter, it’s a combination Mark Twain, Lewis Broussard, Matlock; if you remember, Matlock, from when I was in law school, he was a southern lawyer and he wore a seersucker suit and he just talked in a really calming southern drawl. And Kenny’s like that best friend or that great uncle that you love to spend time with, he’s kind, he makes you laugh, he makes you, you know, want to hug him. I laughed and said, you know, you’ve become such a star and he said, it’s not what he wanted. You know, he started his career he was an angry guy. He said he was an angry police officer when he started, he had to be right. And he realized that there’s a lot of room on every rock for a lot of different opinions, that’s how he described it. And he said, I don’t own the rock. And, you know, I need to be nicer. And he sees good in everybody.

I’ve never forgotten, I went to vote one day and there was a guy and I asked him how he’s doing. And, you know, he said, he just got over cancer. And I said, Oh, my God, boy. And I said, “how are you doing today?” And he said, um, you know, “I’m not feeling great, but it’s a good day.” I said, “what do you mean?” he said, “Look, every day is not a good day. But there’s good in every day.” And that’s the kind of guy that Kenny Kinsey is, and I think when you hear the interview, you’ll see this incredible warmth that comes out of him. And he never talks down to you. He talks with you. And that’s really what separates him from a lot of expert witnesses. So that is what I have to report. It’s really a week of nothing to report on Murdaugh which is good and it doesn’t seem like there’s anything really popping right now in the state which is kinda good.

And now we’re going to move over into the law library. And I’m gonna put on my legal eagle hat and we’re going to talk about some terms. The first we’re going to talk about is a term called jury nullification. And what does jury nullification mean? Jury nullification is when the jurors decide amongst themselves, that they are going to render a verdict that is not consistent with the facts, or not consistent with the law that is charged and given to them by the judge or both. And sometimes, you hear about jury nullification. The last time I can remember it was in the OJ Simpson trial. I’m sure it’s happened before them. But you heard a lot of people say, how could the jury have disregarded? You know, the facts and the evidence and all of the you know, the inconsistencies and then you know, the Bronco chase without calings and you know, he had a gun and he got all his money together in cash and a passport. You know, guilty people don’t do that they don’t go on the run if you’re not guilty, you stick and you say I’m innocent, you fight the charges. But the jury seemed to have disregarded a lot of facts. They disregarded the glove that was clear that, you know, when you get a glove with blood, it shrinks, leather shrinks. Plus OJ had a rubber glove on, because that was a piece of evidence, the leather glove. And when he put it on, you remember he stretched his fingers to the side. And, you know, that’s how it looked like it didn’t really fit. And then of course, you know, his attorney said, if the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit. Johnnie Cochran said that, so. Then, you know, the judge charged the jury on the law. And it was clear that, you know, the jury should have listened to those charges and based on those charges, it would appear that they should have found guilt, but the jury found him not guilty, obviously. And there was talk that that’s jury nullification and all jury nullification means is that the jurors  who have taken an oath to sworn to uphold the law and listen to the judge and not prejudge the case, or not let your own personal beliefs influence what evidence comes to you and what testimony is given. They decide as a collective group, we’re going to render a verdict based on what we want to do, not what the law requires us to do. So occasionally, you’ll hear that term used, it’s not frequently used. Losers in trial often say that there was jury nullification, but it really is just a term that they’re using to say, hey I’m disappointed that they ruled the other way. 

The next is a Latin term. It’s called duces tecum. And it’s used in terms with the word subpoena. Everybody knows what subpoenas you subpoenaed. And you could be subpoenaed to appear in person to a court hearing or trial, or a deposition, which is out of court, you have a court reporter that takes it down in your internal conference room and questions are asked by the opposing party, and you have to answer those questions. So a subpoena is just mean, bring me or bring something. So you can have a subpoena for a person to show up or you can have a subpoena for documents. Subpoena for documents is, that’s what duces tecum. Subpoena for documents. That’s essentially what it means. And so if you’re not a party to litigation, you in civil litigation, you can serve subpoenas on third parties. So I often serve them on accountants for tax returns, or banks for bank account information, or I’ll serve a subpoena for documents on a supplier to get invoices or purchase orders. And what it means is in lieu of a person appearing to bring documents, you can just send me these documents in response to the subpoena request, the the number of requests that I asked whether it’s checks or payments or invoices, and then you certify that you turned over all the documents, and that is subpoena duces tecum. So if you get a subpoena duces tecum don’t get upset, it’s just asking you for documents. And if they’re proprietary, though, you can object to producing them if they’re confidential. You can hire a lawyer to file a motion, what’s known to quash, so you can hire a lawyer who can file a motion with the court to quash the subpoena that was issued against you. So that is our legal terms for this week.

But with that EB out. 

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