The trial judge has denied a request from attorneys for convicted Charleston church mass killer Dylann Roof to delay a competency hearing after the laywers said Roof “may lack the mental capacity” to be his own attorney. Jay Harper has more.
Archives for December 2016
U.S. federal judge denies request to delay a second competency hearing for convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof.
Hours after federal court judge ordered a second competency hearing for Roof on Thursday, defense attorneys have asked to delay the hearing for at least
According to the Post and Courier Roof’s standby attorney David Bruck filed a motion under seal questioning Roof’s competency as they head into the sentencing phase of the trial.
Roof, who was convicted earlier this month of killing nine parishioners inside a Charleston church last year, said on Wednesday he planned to give an opening statement but would not be calling witnesses or presenting evidence to avoid a death sentence.
Bruck said that could be a sign Roof is mentally unfit to serve as his own attorney.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel ordered the mental evaluation be completed this weekend with a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday morning.
As talk of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act growths, the private Commonwealth Fund says about 200,000 South Carolinians have gained health insurance through the legislation.
As talk of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) grows, the private foundation Commonwealth Fund says about 200,000 South Carolinians have gained health insurance through the legislation.
Sara Collins of the fund told South Carolina Radio Network that a study undertaken by the organization finds a repeal without a replacement for those who gained insurance through it would be a step backwards. “This would really mean it would reverse the gains we’ve made in South Carolina,” said Collins.
She said even if a total repeal is done in incriminates over a few years it could still have a devastating result to those who have insurance through what has become known as ObamaCare. “Even the talk about repealing it with a delay, even for a short time could bring a lot of disruption to the individual market in South Carolina where so many have gained health insurance,” Collins said. “That kind of protection that is enabling people finical access to doctors is really at risk under a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.”
President-elect Donald Trump has said a repeal of ObamaCare will be one of the first thing he does in office and he has the support of both houses of the Republican controlled Congress.
Despite Trump being elected, the ACA is still in effect until further notice. That means 2017 open enrollment is still the only time to shop for coverage and get cost assistance for 2017.
Road fatalities in South Carolina approach a four year high before the peak New Year’s Eve weekend.
There are seven fewer deaths in 2016 than there were in 2015 according to data released by the State Hightway Patrol. The 969 deaths in 2016 come just ahead of New Year’s Eve weekend that usually shows a spike in accidents. Last year seven people died on New Year’s Eve weekend alone, which if it were to happen again would tie the 2015 high.
Authorities say it took the strength of a half-dozen people and a pulley system to move a 1,500-pound boulder after the massive rock rolled onto a 15-year-old South Carolina girl, pinning her. Jay Harper reports.
The clock is ticking for South Carolina to comply with federal Real ID Standards.
The State newspaper reports that bills have been pre-filed in both the S.C. House and Senate that would start to get the ball rolling on getting the state to comply the federal ID standards of the eight-year renewal period, rather than the 10-year South Carolina cycle of renewal.
Starting on Jan. 30, 2017, visitors, delivery people and workers without U.S. Department of Defense identification will not be able to use their South Carolina driver’s licenses to get into to places like military bases unless the Department of Homeland Security grants another exemption to the state. Without the extension, visitors will have to show another form of federally acceptable identification, like a passport to get in.
Then starting in January of 2018 a South Carolina driver’s licenses could not be used to get on an airplane at any airport in the entire country or to get into any secured federal building, unless an exemption is extended. An extension has been granted for five years, but the Department of Homeland Security has threatened not to grant another one.
Congress passed the Real ID Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It was crafted with the goal to create state ID’s that are uniform across the country, and be linked to the data that the individual used to get the driver’s license.
South Carolina was one of a few states that passed laws prohibiting the state Department of Motor Vehicle from complying with the Real ID requirements. The thought was that the federal government was overstepping its authority by requiring what the states considered to be a national identification card.
Former South Carolina Republican Party Chairman and national GOP staffer Chad Connelly is considering a run for Congress to fill the seat of South Carolina 5th District Congressman Mick Mulvaney. The Newberry County native told South Carolina Radio Network he is talking about it with his family over the holidays.
The decision, however, would require he leave his post as the Republican National Committee’s first National Director of Faith Engagement, a role that he says, “was a key” in the election of Donald Trump as president.
“We set a record for evangelical turnout, the highest ever,” Connelly said. “And I know that a lot of it was the message and the candidate but I really believe there’s been a lot of groups–and of course our efforts being out there and talking to pastors and faith leaders about the importance of engaging.”
Connelly has held the RNC post for three and a half years. He recently spoke with South Carolina Radio Network about his time in national politics and his possible interest in a run for Congress.
SCRN: He was not a traditional evangelical candidate. Did you have any issues in trying to convince evangelicals to listen to Trump?
Connelly: The truth of the matter was, there was such a feeling of Hillary was a real problem. I had more pastors tell me something on the order of ‘I am not exactly sure of what I get with your candidate, but I’m terrified of what I get with the other side’s candidate.” There was some of that, where people heard what Hillary Clinton had said in regard to religious freedom and life issues, marriage, even debt and taxation, and the way the Democrat Party is now treating Israel by and large… it was all over the country and a lot of them just really brought it down to the Supreme Court: ‘Hey I’d rather have conservatives who are advising Donald Trump pick the next Supreme Court justices than Hillary Clinton.”
Connelly says that, when he took the job, he told RNC Chairman Reince Preibus that he was not going to back a certain candidate. He then visited Christian voters in 40 states, including 25 in 2016 alone.
“I was talking that there is a Biblical obligation to vote and a Biblical obligation to be informed and vote for the person that most represents your values…you may not get the candidate you want at local, state and national or whatever. But, if people who are sitting in churches are informed, they are going to vote our way most of the time.”
SCRN: How did you respond to questions about your role and the separation of church and state?
Connelly: “I did get a lot of questions about, “Is this legal?” I would tell pastors if there is no First Amendment freedom of speech in the pulpit, then there is no freedom of speech anywhere else either…I had to overcome some of the legal hurdles and really a large misinformation that I think some folks have foisted on some pastors. Frankly some denominations hide behind that whole thing, [by saying] ‘well, we cannot talk about politics.’
I would steer them toward whether this is political or is it spiritual. Show me in the Bible where we are to be salt and light everywhere except politics, that’s just not true. We are commanded, we are instructed, we have an obligation to engage in the arena. Salt can only be tasted when there is something that lacks salt.”
SCRN: There is stress between Trump and the Muslim community as a faith community. How do you handle that?
Connelly: “They came to me, Muslim Republican Groups, Jewish Republican groups. When I was in D.C. or out in different organizations, I would run into people from every walk of life you can name. I had those discussions. They were quick to denounce terrorism, they did not like being fit into a mould. I obviously set up some of those meetings with people in leadership and people in Republican leadership around the country as well.”
SCRN: Mr. Trump is drawing pretty heavily on pro-Israel appointments and today there is also a tension about where and how the we do diplomacy over there. In your role, what is your take on that?
Connelly: “I’ve always been heavily involved in pro-Israel groups and I think most of the folks I’m around, certainly the pastors, are very excited to see his appointments and our (GOP) platform called for moving the capital to Jerusalem.
Connelly says he is in discussion about the future of this job with Preibus, who will become President-elect Trump’s chief of staff.
“The public has spoken. They believe in conservative ideals and want to move our nation back to conservative principles and I feel certain that Reince wants me to stay there and expand it or –if I run–find somebody to replace me.”
Another competency hearing has been ordered for Dylann Roof, the Emanuel AME Church shooter. A judge ordered it for Monday, that’s a day before the penalty phase of his hate crimes trial is slated to get underway.
The Post and Courier reports the move came a day after the 22-year-old convicted killer told a federal judge that he is going to represent himself during the penalty phase. That’s where a jury will decide whether to sentence him to the death penalty or a life in prison for shooting and killing nine black worshipers at the church June 17, 2015.
Roof also told a federal judge on Wednesday that he intends to make an opening statement, but will not offer up any witnesses or evidence in his defense.
The attorney who represented Roof during the first part of the trial requested the competency hearing.
An independent psychiatrist from the Medical University of South Carolina has been appointed to examine Roof over the weekend at the Charleston County jail ahead of of Monday’s hearing.
As of yet the judge has not delayed the start of the sentencing trial, which is to get under way at Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.
Dylann Roof ‘s death penalty trial begins next week. More from Bill Dubensky.