Moving the criminal justice system forward

Law officers should protect us. That’s their job. When they fail and serious injury or death results, they betray us. But there are federal and state laws that can help if that happens.

The civil rights lawyers at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel are using those laws to achieve justice. They fight for those whose rights have been violated. They’re also committed to reforming South Carolina’s criminal justice system.

These skilled civil rights attorneys represent clients in incidents before or during arrest. This includes:

  • Racial profiling.
  • False arrest.
  • Excessive force.
  • Officer-involved shootings.
  • Sexual harassment or assault.
  • Malicious prosecution.

The experienced civil rights lawyers also fight for clients incarcerated in jails and prisons. These cases can involve:

  • Failure to protect from self-harm or harm by other inmates.
  • Excessive force/brutality/sexual assaults by correction officers.
  • Delayed or denied medical treatment.
  • Poor or denied mental health care.
  • Prolonged solitary confinement.
  • Filthy, unhygienic living conditions.
  • Staff shortages that deprive safety and care.

The Burnette Shutt & McDaniel Criminal Justice Civil Rights Team

Five attorneys make up the Burnette Shutt & McDaniel Criminal Justice Civil Rights.

Stuart Andrews has won national and state awards over four decades of working to improve laws for lower-income South Carolina residents.

He has sued to stop unconstitutional practices and conditions in Richland and Charleston County jails. He also sued the SC Department of Corrections on behalf of several thousand people with serious mental illness.

That decades-long class-action suit led to better mental health services and policies and reduced use of force and solitary confinement. The victory generated millions of dollars each year in funding for mental health programs and professionals.

Stuart is current chair of the South Carolina ACLU Board of Directors.

Ashley Pennington has represented low-income citizens in state and federal criminal courts for more than 40 years. He’s helped defendants with disabilities who are particularly vulnerable.

Ashley reformed the state public defender system to provide lawyers where they were needed most. He trained those lawyers on how to be effective. In 2022, the SC Public Defender Association created the Ashley Pennington Award in honor of his tireless effort and zealous advocacy.

Nekki Shutt is a highly experienced personal injury attorney. She’s fought hundreds of times in federal court. She’s recovered millions of dollars for clients in wrongful death and serious personal injury cases.

Shutt was part of the legal team in a 2014 civil rights case that ushered in marriage equality in South Carolina. She has handled dozens of sexual harassment cases.

She’s in line to become a future president of the South Carolina Bar and was the founding chair of the Bar’s Civil Rights Section.

Sarah J.M. Cox has helped with state and federal lawsuits in areas of jail conditions, civil rights, and personal injuries involving law enforcement. She’s a skilled investigator and legal researcher.

Annie Day Bame has an up-close perspective of the justice system from her time as a clerk to a federal judge. A former mental-health counselor, she brings a unique perspective and passion to each civil rights case.

How the Burnette Shutt & McDaniel Criminal Justice Civil Rights Team works

The Burnette Shutt & McDaniel team will thoroughly investigate your civil rights claim to determine the best legal strategy.

Depending on the facts and the law, your case could be filed in state or federal court. Sometimes, there are a number of agencies, officials or employees who could be sued. There could be the possibility of different claims.

After analyzing all these scenarios, we will recommend a course of action. That could include a lawsuit to recover damages for violation of your civil rights. If you’re in a position where the violation could be repeated, the attorneys will fight to protect you from further harm.