Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Appellate lawyer

Elizabeth Franklin-Best, a criminal appellate lawyer seeking freedom for her clients.  Focused exclusively on criminal appeals in both state and federal courts.


U.S. v. Shepard, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Filed June 15, 2018: Re-Loading and the Vulnerable Victim Enhancement

June 22nd, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

State v. Brown, South Carolina Supreme Court, Filed June 13, 2018: No Search Warrant Necessary for an Abandoned Cell Phone

June 20th, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

In State v. Brown, decided last week, the SC Supreme Court held that, when a burglar drops their cell phone at the crime scene and does not attempt to recover it, they no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy in its contents and police do not need to get a warrantbefore searching the phone. The alleged victims realized that their home had been burgl

Scott v. U.S., Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Filed May 23, 2018: Brady Claims are always “Second and Successive” Under the AEDPA… Or Are They?

June 6th, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

In Scott v. U.S., the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that, when a petitioner has previously filed a post-conviction relief claim under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 or 2255, he is barred from filing another petition even when the government withheld Brady material until after the first petition was filed… The Court spent most of the opinion explaining why Scott does have a claim that should be heard by the Courts and why it would have bee

State v. Greene, SC Supreme Court, Filed May 23, 2018: Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction Reversed but Homicide by Child Abuse Conviction Affirmed

May 31st, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Stephanie Greene began taking prescription medication after she was in a car wreck in 1998 – in an all-too-familiar story, she became addicted to pain meds and continued to use them over the years. When she became pregnant, according to testimony at her trial, she continued to use morphine and other depressants and then continued to use them as she was breastfeeding… without telling her doctors. The child died, and Greene was convicted

Garren v. South Carolina, SC Supreme Court, filed 4/25/18: PCR Reversal of Grant of Relief When Lower Court Record Didn’t Support Judge Findings.

May 7th, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

This is an important case for those pursuing PCR remedies, or representing PCR Applicants, because it makes clear some of the evidentiary burdens that must be met to win these cases. Garren was convicted of a number of crimes arising out of a domestic dispute. He also has mental health issues. He pleaded guilty. At the plea hearing, his lawyer even noted that he “obviously has some mental problems.” He did not directly appeal his case, but fi

US v. Scott C. Redman, 7th Cir., filed 4/17/18: Court affirms sentence for fake-doctor who used sophisticated means, recklessly endangered patients in bold, bold fraudulent scheme.

May 3rd, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

This is, in my opinion, one of the bolder, fraudulent schemes one could undertake, which may explain why it didn’t last very long (just a couple of months!). Mr. Redman dropped out of high school, but that didn’t stop him from applying for, and then getting hired, as a psychiatrist at a Chicago

Yancey Thompson v. State, S.C. Supreme Court, filed 3/21/18: South Carolina Supreme Court Continues to Monitor PCR Cases Closely

March 28th, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Once again the South Carolina Supreme Court has reversed a PCR case, finding that the PCR Court did not properly assess the prejudice prong of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).  The Court is clearly taking longer and harder looks at this legal vehicle, and that's a great thing for criminal justice in South Carolina.   This was a criminal sexual misconduct case, and the State used their standard playbook.  It cal

US v. Taison McCollum, No. 17-4296 (4th Cir., filed 3/20/18): Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Aid of Racketeering Not So Violent-y.

March 23rd, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Remand for Re-Sentencing After Categorical Approach Reveals Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Aid of Racketeering is not "Crime of Violence."   So no one is particularly happy about this opinion . . . except Mr. McCollum.  The majority was "reluctant" to vacate the sentence, Judge Traxler's concurrence essentially asks either Congress or the United States Su

US v. Savage, No. 16-4704 (4th Cir., filed 3/12/18): Interplay of Jencks Act and Brady Material Showings and When District Court Must Hold In Camera Hearing

March 15th, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Trial counsel needs to lay a foundation or make 'plausible showing' before Court will gig federal district court for not holding in camera review of government materials. This is a fairly lengthy opinion, but there's one part of it that I want to focus on, which is the showing that counsel must make in order to compel a district court judge to review pote

US v. Damian Phillips & $200,000 (4th Cir., filed 2/21/18): Fourth Circuit Decides Appropriate Test for Third-Party Standing in Civil Forfeiture cases.

March 6th, 2018
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Government pockets $200K without even having to swear out a warrant. Another infuriating civil forfeiture case, here the Government seized $200,000 located in a storage unit even though there were no charges filed, or any investigation conducted.  A police dog alerted on a storage unit.  No drugs were found, but $200,000 was present in 12 vacuum-sealed plastic b