CSULAW Grad Judge Clifton Newman ’76 to Speak at CSU College of Law

Posted 2023-03-15 1:55pm

Former Clevelander who presided over high-profile murder trial, conviction of South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh will address Moot Court audience Tuesday, March 28 at noon.

Judge Clifton Newman, who presided over the high-profile trial and sentencing of former South Carolina attorney (now convicted murderer) Alex Murdaugh, will speak at the Cleveland State University College of Law’s Moot Court Room on Tuesday, March 28 at noon. Judge Newman, a judge on the South Carolina Circuit Court, is a 1976 graduate of CSU|LAW. The event is no cost, open-to-the-public.

Throughout the Murdaugh trial which captivated the nation, Judge Newman earned national praises 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 Brendan Sheehan (CSU|LAW ’93), Administrative and Presiding Judge, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. “He’s decisive, he’s firm, he’s caring, he’s got compassion.”

Judge Newman was born in rural South Carolina, the first person in his family to be born in a hospital. After graduating from a racially segregated South Carolina high school as valedictorian, he earned an undergraduate degree from Cleveland State University in 1973 before turning his attention to a law degree. At CSU, he met his wife Patricia and served as President of the Student Government Association.

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, 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.

“We are pleased to welcome our alumnus Judge Newman back to our law school, and proud that CSU|LAW was the beginning of his very distinguished career,” said Lee Fisher, dean of CSU|LAW.

Judge Newman  will be among other distinguished alumni to be inducted into the CSU|LAW School Hall of Fame in November.

Cosponsored by the CSU|LAW Criminal Justice Center

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