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Released on Apr 3, 2023
Monday Morning Message 4.3.23 CSU|LAW in National Spotlight

"Judge Newman is a testament to the highest aspirations for the judiciary in South Carolina." – South Carolina State Representative Roger Kirby

"Judge Newman is the very best we have to offer here, a pillar of our judiciary and our bar."  - South Carolina State Senator Thomas McElveen 

Last week our law school was in the national spotlight when Judge Clifton Newman '76, who presided over the Alex Murdaugh trial that captivated the nation, spoke out about the trial in our Moot Court Room to over 300 people. Judge Newman, a 1976 graduate of CSU|LAW, earned national plaudits for his even-handed demeanor throughout the trial and his insightful comments during sentencing.

In 2021, the Chief Justice of South Carolina’s Supreme Court appointed Judge Newman to handle the criminal matters involving Alex Murdaugh, scion of a South Carolina legal dynasty stretching back 100 years.

This was the first time that Judge Newman had spoken publicly about the trial, so the national media coverage was extensive. Below are clips from the TODAY show, the Cleveland WKYC TV3 evening news, a news report from CNN, an article on the CSU website, a full recording of the entire program in our Moot Court Room, and some photos from the event. Over 40 media outlets throughout the country reported on Judge Newman’s talk at our law school.

I asked Judge Brendan Sheehan’93 to interview him because they have been friends for many years, and Judge Sheehan did an outstanding job. CSU President Laura Bloomberg and I gave welcoming remarks. Judge Newman also spoke with a group of students and to members of our Hall of Fame at a reception. Judge Newman will be inducted in our Hall of Fame at our 6th Annual CSU|LAW Hall of Fame Celebration on November 3, 2023.

Judge Newman News Coverage

Judge Newman, a judge on the South Carolina Circuit Court for the past 23 years, was born in rural South Carolina, the first person in his family to be born in a hospital. After graduating from a racially segregated high school as valedictorian, he earned an undergraduate degree from Cleveland State University where he was President of the Student Government Association and he met his wife Pat. He graduated from our law school in 1976. 

His legal career began in Ohio, where he formed the law firm of Belcher and Newman. In 1982, he returned to South Carolina 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. 

In addition to the Murdaugh trial, he has presided over numerous high-profile civil and criminal cases including The State v. Michael Slager, a police shooting case; and The State v. Nathaniel Rowland, the “Fake Uber” case. He is the past President of the American College of Business Court Judges and Co-Chair of the Judges Initiative Committee of the Business Law Section of the ABA. He has served as a program faculty member of the National Judicial College. In addition to his judicial duties, he is an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. 

TODAY Show: Murdaugh Trial Judge Breaks His Silence at CSU|LAW 3.29.23

WKYC TV3: Judge Clifton Newman Speaks at CSU LAW 3.28.23

CNN: Judge Clifton Newman Speaks About Murdaugh Trial at CSU Law 3.29.23

CSU News: Judge Clifton Newman Speaks to 300-plus at CSU|LAW 3.28.23

Recording: Judge Clifton Newman'76 Interviewed by Judge Brendan Sheehan'93 at CSU|LAW 3.28.23

Judge Clifton Newman at CSU|LAW Photos

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice.

Have a great day. Have a great week.

My best,


Lee Fisher
Dean, Cleveland State University College of Law | Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law

For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages.

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