Judge Clifton Newman, who presided over the high-profile trial and sentencing of former South Carolina attorney (now convicted murderer) Alex Murdaugh, spoke at the Cleveland State University College of Law’s Moot Court Room on March 28 with Administrative and Presiding Judge Brendan Sheehan moderating. Newman, a judge on the South Carolina Circuit Court, is a 1976 graduate of CSU Law School.
Throughout the Murdaugh trial, Judge Newman earned national praise for his even-handed demeanor and his insightful comments during sentencing.
“Honest to God, what you saw on TV is who he is,” said his friend, Judge Sheehan. “He’s decisive, he’s firm, he’s caring, he’s got compassion.”
During the hour-long Q&A, Judge Newman discussed his years in Cleveland, how he handled the world-wide spotlight of the Murdaugh case, and even saw some law school classmates in the audience. You can stream the entire presentation by clicking here.
Judge Newman began practicing law in Cleveland before returning to South Carolina in 1982 to start a private law practice. He served as a defense attorney, a civil practitioner, and a prosecutor before 2000, when the state General Assembly elected him to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
He served 23 years as a Circuit Court Judge, and in 2021 the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court appointed Judge Newman to handle the criminal matters involving Murdaugh, who is part of a South Carolina legal dynasty that stretches back 100 years.