Defense Attorney Accuses Solicitor of Vindictiveness Toward Murder Suspect

Solicitor's office accused of vindictiveness

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – It was an unusual day in court for the solicitor, whose office oversees prosecuting cases. Solicitor Dan Johnson was instead subpoenaed after a prominent defense attorney complained about the way how Johnson added a charge in an ongoing murder case.

Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian claimed that Johnson’s actions were vindictive against his client.

Jermaine Davis was arrested for carjacking and murder in the death of 25-year-old Zaire Franklin in August of 2016.

His murder trial resulted in a hung jury. After that, Johnson’s office charged Davis with armed robbery.
  
"The issue here, is he being punished for asserting his right to a speedy trial, having that trial and then moving to be discharged from jail?” questioned Harpootlian during the three-hour hearing. “Or is there some other motive other than vindictiveness."

Solicitor Johnson says Harpootlian’s allegations are a stretch.
 
"Mr. Harpootlian raised a statute that is rarely raised, in fact I haven't seen it in 20 years,” says Johnson. “The fact of the matter is we're doing the things we're doing because we have a person, who is presumed innocent until found guilty, but is accused of murder, a carjacking and an armed robbery."

judge Jean Toal dropped the armed robbery charge against Davis.

"It is a big deal to have an armed robbery charge dismissed,” says Harpootlian. “It carries a minimum of 10 and a maximum of thirty and you have to serve eight and half of the 10."

Judge Toal also removed the subpoena against Solicitor Johnson's office and allowed them to remain on the case.

There is no word on if Davis will be retried in the death of Franklin.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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