Man serving life sentence freed
An Orangeburg County jury convicted Cory Credell of murder and first degree burglary based on eyewitness identified him as one of two assailants in a home breaking. Mr. Credell, who consistently denied any involvement in the crime, was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment, with no possibility of parole under South Carolina law and his convictions were affirmed on appeal.
Mr. Credell applied for post-conviction relief (PCR) alleging his appointed counsel was ineffective at his trial. The PCR judge denied relief and the South Carolina Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Mr. Credell sought federal habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2242. After the federal magistrate recommended granting Credell’s petition, the district court appointed Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin to represent Mr. Credell.
During a June 10, 2011 hearing in Charleston, Credell’s lawyers argued he was denied his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel when his trial lawyer failed to advise him of his right to remain silent before he was called to testify and, on direct examination, elicited responses that put Credell’s otherwise inadmissible criminal history concerning drug activity before the jury.
After considerable deliberation, the district court granted a writ of habeas corpus, ordering Mr. Credell’s jailer to release him from prison. The state solicitor declined to retry the case.See All Results