South Carolina's Flagship University
Symposium on Prosecutorial Ethics & Duties

Symposium on Prosecutorial Ethics & Duties

March 15-16, 2012
University of South Carolina School of Law

CLE Course #122987 approved for 5.75 hours of Ethics by the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE and Specialization.

A symposium built around four panel discussions between judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, and academics about their experiences and perspectives, seeking to illuminate those differences and identify areas of consensus about the burning issues of prosecutors’ ethics.

Around the country, wrongful convictions and prosecutorial misconduct are being discussed in the courts, the press, the blogosphere, as well as public and private conversations. Some of the cases are widely known: the Central Park Jogger case in New York, the Duke Lacrosse case in North Carolina, Michael Morton in Texas, the Federal prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens, and the US Supreme Court cases of John Thompson and Juan Smith demonstrating the New Orleans District Attorney's pattern of refusing to obey Brady. South Carolina has its own cases, with their own revealing published court opinions: recently-released Edward Lee Elmore (whose story is told in Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong by former N.Y. Times reporter Raymond Bonner), Ernest Riddle, Perry Mitchell, B.J. Quattlebaum, Jack Parker, and Billy Wayne Cope. Other cases are not well known, or are just coming to light. Many of these cases involve allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, often involving emotional appeals to public and jury, failure to timely turn over exculpatory information, use of false or unreliable confessions, and resisting DNA or other scientific evidence of innocence – and in many of the cases the defendants have been exonerated. Although we know that most prosecutors are honorable men and women, committed to the ideals of justice, who seriously embrace their duties to it, we do not know how widespread the problem is. Was Mike Nifong a rogue prosecutor or symptomatic of extensive wrongdoing? This symposium will explore those questions and will inquire into the role of the ethical rules governing prosecutors, and the violation of those rules, in permitting or preventing such misconduct and in providing meaningful guidance to prosecutors intent on doing the right thing.


The symposium will be held in the Strom Thurmond Auditorium of the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

6 p.m.
Keynote Address
James P. Cooney III, Womble Carlyle, Charlotte, NC

Friday, March 16, 2012

8:00 a.m.
Event registration desk opens; morning refreshments available

8:30-8:45 a.m.
Robert M. Wilcox, Dean

8:45-9:15 a.m.
Mike Nifong - Aberrational Rogue?
Opening Remarks on the Scope of the Issue of Prosecutorial Misconduct
Dr. Gregory B. Adams, University of South Carolina School of Law

9:15-10:30 a.m.
Emotional Advocacy
Panel Discussion of Jury Arguments, Publicity, and Public Opinion

10:30-10:45 a.m.
Refreshment break

10:45-12:00 p.m.
And Justice For All
Panel Discussion of Duties to Disclose Exculpatory Information Under Brady and Rule 3.8 (d) of the Rules of Professional Conduct

12-1:30 p.m.
Lunch break

1:30-2:45 p.m.
True Confessions
Panel Discussion of Unreliable Confessions

2:45-3 p.m.
Refreshment break

3:00-4:15 p.m.
The DNA Will Set You Free
Panel Discussion of Prosecutors’ Duties When Faced With Evidence of Innocence

4:15-5 p.m.
The “Minister of Justice” Model: Ideals and Reality
Conclusions About Prosecutors’ Duty to Seek Justice, Not Merely Convictions


The Honorable J. Michelle Childs; The Honorable G. Thomas Cooper, Jr.; The Honorable Eugene C. Griffith, Jr.; The Honorable Kevin F. McDonald; Dr. Gregory B. Adams; Professor Stanley E. Adelman; John M. Barton, Esq.; Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlton R. Bourne, Jr.; Professor David I. Bruck; Professor Eugene Cerruti; James P. Cooney, III, Esq.; Mark Curriden, Esq.; Vincent J. Dooley, Esq.; Professor James F. Flanagan; Professor Kenneth W. Gaines; Jonathan S. Gasser, Esq.; Richard A. Harpootlian, Esq.; Diana L. Holt, Esq., Professor Susan S. Kuo; Sherri A. Lydon, Esq.; Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark C. Moore; District Attorney R. Andrew Murray; Jack B. Swerling, Esq.

Planning Committee

Dr. Gregory B. Adams, University of South Carolina School of Law
John M. Barton, Esq., Columbia, South Carolina
Sherri A. Lydon, Esq., Columbia, South Carolina
James M. Morton, Esq., Morton & Gettys, Rock Hill, South Carolina

About the Keynote Speaker

Jim CooneyJim Cooney has represented individuals and businesses in some of the most difficult, high-profile cases in North Carolina. He was president of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys and the North Carolina Bar Association has awarded him the William Thorp Pro Bono Award and the Wade Smith Professionalism Award for Criminal Defense. He has tried more than 50 jury cases to verdict and argued more than 35 appeals in the State and Federal courts. He is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Permanent Member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Jim successfully defended Reade Seligmann, one of the wrongfully charged lacrosse players in the “Duke Lacrosse Rape Case,” by securing a dismissal of the charges and a declaration of innocence from the Attorney General of North Carolina. Jim also freed convicted death row inmate, Alan Gell, by exposing the prosecutorial misconduct that led to his wrongful conviction and sentence of death and by obtaining a Not Guilty verdict in the retrial. He also was able to get the first-degree murder convictions of Michael Pinch thrown out after Pinch had spent 26 years on death row. Jim was instrumental in encouraging the passage of the “open file” statute in North Carolina.

SC CLE Credit

SC CLE credit will be available for those participating in the Friday symposium, and members of the South Carolina Bar are asked to have their Bar numbers with them when they sign-in for CLE credit. A Uniform Certificate of Attendance will be available for participants who are not members of the South Carolina Bar.

How to Register for the Symposium

For your convenience you may complete the registration form online or print from the event webpage and mail to the Events office. The registration fee is waived for USC law alumni and current prosecutors, and is $50 for non-alumni. The symposium includes the CLE and refreshments breaks. Please make checks payable to USC Foundations and mail along with completed registration form to: USC School of Law, PED Symposium, 701 S. Main St., Ste. 202, Columbia, SC 29208.

Payment will be accepted the day of the symposium, however please submit completed registration form by March 12, 2012, so that we can finalize food guarantees.

If you need to cancel your registration, please email or fax your notice to the Events Office. Substitutions are permitted at any time, and full refunds will be available until March 12, 2012. After March 12, no refunds can be made. Refunds are in the form of a check only. Please allow 4-6 weeks for refund processing. The Events Office fax number is 803-777-5827 and the email is lawconfs@law.sc.edu.

Metered parking is available around the School of Law and a municipal parking facility is a few minutes walk from the law school with hourly and day-long rates.

Questions? Please contact Beth Hendrix by dialing 803-777-8058 or via email to lawconfs@law.sc.edu.