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Can one person be charge with 2nd degree lynching, when codefendant charge was drop

Sumter, SC |

I went to trial for lynching by myself an codefendant charge was drop. Lynching statue clearly states 2 or more people

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Attorney answers 4


Talk to a criminal defense attorney bout your situation right away.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


This swill make it very difficult to prosecute but without knowing the full details of the case its hard to say. You're right in that it takes an agreement of at least two people to prove a lynching charge (or at least it should) however, the other person may be cooperating with the prosecution or some other reason that is going on, but this does seem to give you room to argue your case.


I don't practice in your jurisdiction, however, here in Chicago the prosecution would be free to drop the charges against your co-defendant and still prosecute you. Unless the prosecution has to prove the other person was convicted of the offense, which I don't believe to be the case, then all they have to present is evidence that there was another person who participated, whether they are charged or not.


I am not admitted to practice law in South Carolina but hope the following quote from State v. Barksdale, 311 S.C. 210 (Court of Appeals of South Carolina), may be useful.

"Although lynching is a statutory crime, legal scholars analyzing the closely analogous common law crime of riot have fully explored the degree of intent required to prove crimes involving intentional violence by a group toward the person of another. “ ‘Mob’ has been held to be practically synonymous with ‘riot’ and ‘riotous assembly.’ ” 58 C.J.S. Mob p. 837 (1948); Black's Law Dictionary 905 (5th ed. 1979); see also S.C.Code Ann. §§ 16-5-10 to -140 (“mob” and “riot” are used interchangeably throughout Chapter 5). Our Supreme Court has defined riot as:

*214 [A] tumultuous disturbance of the peace by three or more persons assembled together of their own authority, with the intent mutually to assist each other against anyone who shall oppose them, and putting their design into execution in a terrific and violent manner, whether the object was lawful or not.

In riot cases, the state must show evidence of a common intent to do an unlawful act when the statute makes that an element of the crime. Dixon v. State, 105 Ga. 787, 31 S.E. 750, 753 (1898). The intent of persons assembled to mutually assist each other may be proven by “positive testimony, or it may be inferred from circumstances.” State v. Cole, 13 S.C.L. (2 McCord) 117, 120 (1822). The common intent to do violence to the person of another may be formed before or during the assemblage. Id. at 123-24; 54 Am.Jur.2d Mobs and Riots § 8 (1971). Finally, an assemblage lawful in its inception may become unlawful if the group conceives an unlawful purpose which it proceeds to carry out in a riotous manner. Cole, 13 S.C.L. at 123-24. (“For if persons who have assembled**501 for a lawful purpose do afterwards associate together to commit an unlawful act, such association will be considered an assembling together for that purpose.”); Edward Wise, The Law Relating to Riots and Unlawful Assemblies 5 (2d ed. 1848)."

I hope this helps, and if you don't already have a lawyer considering retaining one of the lawyers from your state who answers this question.

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