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Pro Bono Champion: Mike Scott and the SC Appellate Practice Project

February 23, 2018

Mike Scott, through his first project with the South Carolina Appellate Practice Project, secured the release of an individual who was originally accused and convicted by the court of drug trafficking in Spartanburg County and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

At the SC Court of Appeals, Mike filed an appeal and argued several grounds for reversal, including a 4th Amendment challenge to the search of the accused’s parents’ house, where all of the state’s evidence was found. After the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, Mike appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court, which granted Mike’s petition for a writ of certiorari. In December 2016, Mike appeared before the SC Supreme Court and presented oral argument. Mike was persuasive. By a vote of 5-0, the SC Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and held that all evidence found in the case should have been suppressed because the police violated the 4th Amendment during their search. Mike’s client was released — more than 7 years after he was arrested.

This case was especially meaningful to Mike because he worked on the original brief with his late great friend, and our former colleague, Judge Tanya Gee. ­­Nexsen Pruet attorneys Greg Placone, Jimmy Byars, and Melissa Fried have also volunteered with the Appellate Practice Project.

In 2013, then-Chief Judge Few created the Appellate Practice Project to give aspiring appellate attorneys the opportunity to be solely responsible for meaningful pro bono appellate work. Each attorney was assigned a criminal case and guaranteed an oral argument for that case at the Court of Appeals. 


Nexsen Pruet is one of the largest law firms in the Carolinas, with more than 190 attorneys and offices in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, N.C. Founded in 1945, Nexsen Pruet provides a broad range of legal services to the business community and represents companies and other entities in local, state, national and international venues.

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