Archive for June, 2010

How does a judge know evidence is relevant without (generally) resorting to hearsay?

While responding to a comment on my blog “Why isn’t corporal punishment considered domestic abuse?,” I began thinking about how one might “know” a fact without resorting to hearsay.  This is important in making a threshold determination of whether evidence is relevant under the South Carolina Rules of Evidence.  Rule 402, SCRE requires evidence to […]

Why isn’t corporal punishment considered domestic abuse?

Yesterday, while bantering with a DSS attorney I really like during a lull in a mediation I was conducting, she mentioned that she used corporal punishment as discipline when her child “needed correction.”  I facetiously responded that I believed I should be able to exercise corporal punishment on my wife when she too “needed correction.” I […]

I too have read South Carolina Family Court Rule 9 (or how to piss-off a family court judge part 2)

If you practice family law in South Carolina, how often has the following happened to you?: ATTORNEY: [Asks the witness a question] OPPOSING COUNSEL: Objection JUDGE: Sustained If I am the attorney who has just had my question cut off without being able to explain why my question is permissible, I will ask the judge, […]

A new response to “move on counsel; you’ve made your point” (or how to piss-off a family court judge part 1)

Since family court proceedings are bench trials a family law attorney’s task is to convince a judge, not a jury.  Judges who feel that the attorney is belaboring an issue are known to cut off an attorney’s questioning of a witness by telling the attorney some variation on “move on counsel; you’ve made your point.” […]

Not publishing opinions to save the trial court embarrassment

I have been a past critic of the South Carolina Court of Appeals’ failure to publish opinions that do not meet the criteria of S.C. Code Ann. § 18-9-280 for leaving opinions unpublished.  Sometimes I read an unpublished opinion that, to my thinking, clearly doesn’t meet that criteria and the only reason I can figure […]

How crazy does one have to be to get relief from a judgment?

I am currently assisting a local attorney in seeking relief from a judgment, pursuant to Rule 60(b)(1), SCRCP, based on the claim that the client was suffering from such a significant mental illness at the time he entered what he alleges was an unfair agreement that he had excusable neglect in entering this agreement.  At […]

Financial declarations with an eye toward the future

Just the past week I have closed a support modification case in which a party’s financial declaration understates that party’s projected future income and taken over another support modification case in which my client did not have the financial declarations the court used to approve his previous support agreement.  These are not uncommon experiences but […]

The Honorable Frances P. Segars-Andrews: An Appreciation

The Honorable F.P. Segars-Andrews leaves the family court bench soon.  To read some comments on the internet there were a number of litigants extremely angered by her decisions.  Over the years I have had more than one client greatly upset by one of her rulings.  Yet I have always defended her to my clients and […]