State Bar association attacks RGA ad on Sheheen - - Columbia, South Carolina

State Bar association attacks RGA ad on Sheheen


An ad by the Republican Governor's Association attacking Democrat Vincent Sheheen is catching flak -- not from Democrats, but from lawyers.

The South Carolina Bar association says the ad doesn't attack Sheheen but any lawyer in the Palmetto State that's ever defended a client in court, including Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Friday,a the president of the American Bar Association asked for a retraction of the ad.

The RGA ad goes after Sheheen's work as a criminal defense lawyer, ending with the tagline "Sheheen protects criminals, not South Carolina"

Bar Association leaders though say that's an attack on all lawyers and the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution itself, which grants the right to a speedy and fair trial.

"This system of justice, which we're so proud of in America, requires the unpopular have an advocate, and every time, a defense lawyer fights to make the government do their job," said SC Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Harrison who was quoting U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The Bar association has even launched a website, which calls the ad misleading and uncivil.

In a press conference Thursday morning, though, state Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore says the ad isn't about lawyers at all.

"It's not about due process or the right to seek counsel, he simply took these clients to make money. These are people who pled guilty to sexual offenses and attacking young girls under the age of 14. Very serious crimes," said Moore.

"A fundamental tenet of America's justice system and Constitution is that anyone who faces loss of liberty has a right to legal counsel," wrote ABA President James R. Silkenat in a letter to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is a lawyer and chairman of the Republican Governors Association. "Lawyers have an ethical obligation to uphold that principle and provide zealous representation to people who otherwise would stand alone against the power and resources of the government — even to those accused or convicted of terrible crimes."

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