Here you will find Pleadings filed by Michael.
Michael’s pleadings are published here (and elsewhere) for two reasons:
- To increase the numbers of people who will know Michael is one of the majority of innocent people who plead guilty when they realize their lawyer is ineffective; and, equally important
- To make this research available to others who need it. And many do. They lose when they do not know the law that protects them, and have no one who can advise.
The pleadings begin with a Motion, or are in Reply to one filed by the prosecutor. A Motion is a request to the court to do something. Pleadings detail the legal reasons and facts of the case that explain why the court should grant the request.
Michael Farris filed his petition for Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) in September 2013. The prosecutor filed nothing for three months–long past their statute of limitations (the cut-off date). The statute of limitations is rigidly enforced for ordinary people, not prosecutors.
When the prosecutor finally filed a reply, another violation occurred. Michael was not sent a copy. The prosecutor (called “assistant attorney general” in South Carolina) filed a Motion to Dismiss Michael’s petition based on the statute of limitations for PCR petitions. The prosecutor was wrong.
This is the point where many people lose–because they do not know there are exceptions to a PCR statute of linitations. One of those exceptions is newly discovered evidence.
Michael learned about the Motion to Dismiss when the judge issued a Conditional Order to Dismiss. The court clerk mailed both documents to Michael. The Conditional Order allowed Michael twenty days to refute the prosecutor’s motion. We were ready. Michael filed his Reply within one week.
View Reply 2 Motion Dismiss.
The judge did not rule. He did not rule either way. Twenty days passed, and then month after month. In August 2013 Michael filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. And with the MSJ he also filed his personal affidavit, a Statement of Undisputed Facts, many exhibits, an affidavit from Gloria Wolk, an affidavit from an alibi witness, a motion to appoint counsel if the judge decided to hold a hearing, and a motion for an expedited hearing if a hearing was held. (He hoped the judge would rule on the basis of pleadings.)
View Michael’s Motion for Summary Judgment Farris MSJ 0813
View Michael’s affidavit APPLICANT AFFIDAVIT re MSJ
View the Statement of Undisputed Facts (This is a bullet list of issues for which there is irrefutable evidence.)
View Wolk affidavit
View the Motion for Expedited Hearin: Mo Expedited Hearing 080913
And then we waited. And waited. The judge did not set a hearing date. What we did not know at the time was that South Carolina judges do not set their own hearing schedules. Solicitors (aka “district attorneys” in other states) set the hearing schedules.
In December 2012 the state supreme court declared this to a violation of separation of powers. Judges should have the power and authority to set their own schedules. Innocent people can be forced to plead guilty just to get out of jail, if they cannot make bail and are stuck awaiting trial for two or three years. But nothing has changed.
There was no expedited hearing. No hearing date was set.
What we also did not know at the time is that judges do not get copies of filed pleadings until just before a hearing date. And so the judge did not rule on any of Michael’s motions–the Motion for Expedited Hearing, the Motions to Appoint an Attorney, or the Motion for Summary Judgment. And although he received a copy, the prosecutor never filed a reply to the Motion for Summary Judgment.
Instead, the prosecutor sent a letter with a proposed Order to Dismiss to the judge, ready for signing, and filled with misinformation and misrepresentations of law. This time a copy was sent to Michael.
View the prosecutor’s attempt to dump Michael’s petition for Post-Conviction Relief:
Michael replied with a letter to the judge, accusing the prosecutor of attempting a fraud on the court. To view this letter, click Fraud on the court
Then Michael filed a third request (motion) for appointment of counsel. Again we waited.
And waited, until Michael filed a notice of intent to petition the state Supreme Court for a Writ of Mandamus. If granted, the highest court in the state would tell the judge to do his job. The mandate would not instruct him how to rule.
To view the notice of intent to petition for a Writ of Mandate, click Notice Intent File Pet Writ
The judge appointed “kid” attorney, Tristan Schaffer, a Swilley-clone. (Swilley is the public defender who coerced Michael into a guilty plea. For details, see, Motion for Summary Judgment, above.)
And things went from bad to worse.
Continue on to The Hearing.