A Decade of Law



Published:

We’ve covered a range of legal goings on here in the lowcountry – lawyers held hostage, drug busts, executions, that flag flap – here are some of the best from the past 10 years.

 

Mike Hostilo / Issue 21

An attorney’s worst nightmare: a former client, unhappy with his day in court, threatens violence and returns for vengeance. That’s exactly what happened when Robbie Brower took Michael Hostilo hostage in his Statesboro law office in 2006. 11 years after serving time for brutally beating a man with a hammer, Brower and wife Connie bound and gagged Hostilo holding him at knifepoint for 24 hours. Hostilo’s courtroom savvy prevailed, though. Eventually his captors removed the duct tape from his mouth, and Hostilo negotiated his own release. Brower is currently serving an 85-year sentence, his wife a 65-year sentence for taking Hostilo hostage. Michael Hostilo has reduced the number of cases he takes on and now mostly works out of his Savannah office. “My whole perspective of life has changed,” says Hostilo, “I’m a better me. I’m a better person.”

 

Tempered and True:  The Iron Defense of Mike Schiavone / Issue 62

​ Long odds lingering over your head? Hard time staring you down? Your back’s against the wall and nobody’s on your side? Iron Mike’s your man. With more than 40-years’ experience as a defense attorney, he’s seen his share of ripped-from-the-headlines cases. The kind that become books and big-budget films. In the late ‘80s, Schiavone represented Carl Isaacs. Isaacs escaped from a Maryland prison with two others, broke into a Georgia farm house, killed five men and raped a woman before also murdering her. The trial carried on for a month, and the jury deliberated into the night before delivering its guilty verdict. The case remains one of Georgia’s grisliest tales of murder, going on to become both a book and a film. More recently, Schiavone defended former Miss Savannah pageant winner, Sharron Nicole Redmond, in the aggravated assault shooting of Kevin Shorter. The jury determined Redmond’s actions as self-defense. Redmond now lives in Atlanta and is pursuing a PhD. in career development.

 

Cover Shock / Issue 57

 That necktie with a nod to the “Stars and Bars” ignited fury and debate across South’s social media and digital platforms. On the cover of 2015’s late-summer “Money and Power” issue, the image was published on the heels of Dylann Roof’s racially-motivated rampage, in which he shot and killed nine African American parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church. Roof embraced the Confederate flag as personal emblem for his deeds, a token of his racial hatred. Across the country, emotions ran high both for and against the flag. For many, it serves as reminder of the pervasive inequity that denied slaves their worth and recognition as humans. Others see the flag as part of southern culture and heritage, a symbol of pride, independence and of standing apart. Like it or not, the Confederate flag is a cultural artifact that remains uncomfortably situated in contemporary America and is undeniably a part of the South’s history. Everything the flag represents can’t be erased or whisked away; it’s a symbol that all us Southerners must come to terms with one way or another. For goodness sakes, we are headquartered in Savannah, Georgia! South magazine felt compelled to address the flag. National magazine consultant, Cable Neuhaus, offered, “And let’s face it, if a magazine named South failed to address the flap over the Confederate flag—if it simply permitted the national brouhaha to pass without remark—shame on such a book. It would not deserve the attention or loyalty of its readers.

 

Savannah’s war on drugs / Issue 62

From 2014 to 2015 violent crime in Savannah rose by 26 percent. Nationwide for that same time period, violent crime went up by 4 percent. In Savannah, those numbers continue to climb, significantly outpacing the national average. Local law enforcement is convinced drug trafficking has a lot to do with the uptick. And they are primed and ready to fight back. Law enforcement is reluctant to say the Lowcountry is in the midst of a drug epidemic, but they do acknowledge a flood of crystal meth users inundating southeast Chatham and surrounding counties in the past two years. The DEA has identified four cartels operating out of Atlanta. Super labs in the city refine the substance to its crystal form, which yields a stronger high. Then “mules” transport pounds of it to distant communities like Savannah, surrounding counties and as far away as Charleston. Savannah’s drug problem boils down to supply and demand. “Law enforcement has to aggressively target the dealers. Without the dealers, they simply can’t get the drugs,” said Sergeant Gene Harley of Savannah’s Counter Narcotics Team.

 

 

Innocent as Sin / Issue 15

Troy Davis: in the years leading up to his execution on Sept. 21, 2011, his name has become synonymous with that margin of injustice that sometimes results from justice. In 1989, Davis was alleged to have shot and killed a young, very popular Savannah police officer, Mark McPhail. After a local media frenzy and nearly two years of court proceedings, Davis was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991. But in intervening years, parts of that story just didn’t add up. In the four-day manhunt for Davis, police discovered that the man who implicated Davis in the murder owned a caliber gun that killed McPhail the night of the shooting. The information was not investigated or submitted in the murder trial. The prosecution also never produced a murder weapon. Between 1996 and 2005, seven witnesses came forward and recanted their testimony, indicating they’d been pressured by police to name Davis as the shooter. One witness went on record to say he was forced to sign a statement but didn’t know what it said because he couldn’t read. Between 2007 and 2009, Davis leveraged three stays of execution with support from Amnesty International, Pope Benedict XVI, Jimmy Carter, and Desmond Tutu. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered an evidenciary hearing in which Davis’ death sentence was upheld, despite nearly a million signatures petitioning for clemency and a host of politicians and celebrities campaigning on Davis’ behalf. What’s the take away here? Humans are imperfect, we are biased and often victims of our emotions. Our legal system is a human endeavor and as such sometimes justice is tainted. Troy Davis’ death offers a light on human fallibility. May his story shine so that innocence will prevail and live when staring down similar circumstances.

 

To read more about A Decade of Law, subscribe now or pick up the June/July issue of South magazine. 

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South's Greatest Photographers 2018

We're looking for the greatest, most creative photographers. If that is you, or you know of any, don't hesitate to nominate!

South's Greatest Kids Contest 2017

When it comes to cute, the kids of the South are all way above average! Share the cuteness and nominate your kids today.
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Events Calendar

  • #art912, Avanguardia

    Nov 17, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Avanguardia, an exhibition by Savannah-based artist Lisa D. Watson (American, b. 1967), explores the encroachment of the constructed environment on...

  • Kirk Varnedoe: In the Middle at the Modern

    Sep 22, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Can you have an art exhibition without any artworks? Is a curator an artist? Who or what decides an object’s value? Through the lens of an art...

  • Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection

    Oct 13, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Academy

    When the world gets urban, the South gets Southern. That’s one way to sum up Scenic Impressions: Southern Paintings from the Johnson Collection,...

  • Jacob Lawrence, Lines of Influence at SCAD Museum of Art

    Sep 07, 2017
    All Day @ SCAD Museum of Art

    Jacob Lawrence Lines of Influence Sept. 7, 2017 - Feb. 4, 2018 The SCAD Museum of Art and the Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence...

  • National Reading Day

    Jan 23, 2018
    1:00 PM - 2:00 PM @ Hancock Day School

    The Sandfly Women Business Owner’s Coalition will promote literacy efforts on National Reading Day, Tuesday, Jan. 23, by spending time at Hancock...

  • The Candy Apple Happy Hour

    Jun 13, 2017
    3:00 PM @ The Candy Apple Cafe

    Repeats every day until Sun Jun 18 2017  11 am Cocktail Artist Series The restaurant will serve cocktails inspired by select Broadway...

  • Chocolate Bar Your Way Class

    Jun 14, 2017
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Sweet Pete's Candy

    4 pm sweetpetescandy.com Learn the art of old fashioned candy making in one of Sweet Pete’s Candy’s most popular classes. Sweet...

  • Daughters of the Dust Film Screening

    Jan 25, 2018
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Julie Dash’s dreamy, visually-striking film, the first wide-release feature by a female African American director, tells the story of the Peazant...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Educational Outreach Concert

    Jan 25, 2018
    7:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ Skidaway Island UMC

    Join the American Traditions Vocal Competition (ATC) as they celebrate their first week of educating students in the Savannah-Chatham County Public...

  • Anything Flows Yoga Class

    Jun 15, 2017
    7:00 PM @ Dragon Dance Yoga

    7 pm Anything Flows Yoga Class Walk in rate: $14 Dragon Dance Yoga This class will take you beyond your comfort zone while still...

  • Lean Ensemble Theater presents 'Good People'

    Jan 25, 2018
    7:30 PM - 9:30 PM @ HHP Main Street Theatre

    Lean Ensemble Theater’s Production of Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire.  Welcome to Southie, a Boston neighborhood where a night on the...

  • Paul Stephen Benjamin: Reinterpreting the Sound of Blackness

    Jan 26, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Paul Stephen Benjamin (American, b. 1966) is a conceptual artist whose work is a meditation on the color black, specifically as an entry point into...

  • Carrie Mae Weems: Sea Islands Series, 1991-1992

    Jan 26, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Considered one of the most influential contemporary artists, Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953) has continued to explore the African American...

  • Southern Songbirds: An Evening with Jill Knight & Caroline Aiken

    Jan 26, 2018
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    This is going to be one special night, folks. Two extraordinarily talented songwriters and performers, one from Los Angeles, one from Athens, but...

  • Whett Your Appetite for Open Fire Cooking!

    Jan 27, 2018
    9:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Oatland Island Wildlife Center

    Do you love sitting around a fire this time of year?  Why not put those BTU’s to work and cook a meal while you’re at it?  Oatland Island...

  • Collin’s Barefoot Comedy Club w/Mike Malone

    Jan 27, 2018
    11:15 AM - 11:15 AM @ Tybee Post Theater

    National headline comedian Collin Moulton's monthly stand-up comedy show always features his own brand of hilarious and family-friendly comedy, a...

  • Savannah Philharmonic: Royal Baroque

    Jan 27, 2018
    7:30 PM - 9:30 PM @ Lucas Theatre for the Arts

    The Savannah Philharmonic is slated to present "Royal Baroque" where grand masters Bach and Handel will take center stage in this concert...

  • Lean Ensemble Theater presents 'Good People'

    Nov 28, 2017
    2:00 PM - 4:00 PM @ HHP Main Street Theatre

    Lean Ensemble Theater’s Production of Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire.  Welcome to Southie, a Boston neighborhood where a night on the...

  • Building Local ‘Buzz’ for your Business

    Jan 30, 2018
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ University of Georgia Small Business Development

    The University of Georgia will host “Building Local ‘Buzz’ for your Business” at the University of Georgia – Small Business Development...

  • Lecture by Carrie Mae Weems

    Feb 01, 2018
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair presents a lecture by renowned and influential artist Carrie Mae Weems. Over the past 30 years, Weems has developed a complex body of art...


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Scenes of the South

Jazz'd Tapas Bar NYE

Make sure to check out these scenes from the Studio 54 NYE party at Jazz'd Tapas Bar!

Ho Ho Holiday Oyster Roast

Ele & The Chef hosted their 1st annual Ho Ho Holiday Oyster Roast at Current Kitchen & Cocktails on December 17th. All ticket sales benefitted Aiden Cares, an awareness intiitive that encourages giving and serving.

A prevention event by RCC - Step Up and Step In to Stop Bullying

This annual 8k run was held on December 16th at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, and all proceeds for the event benefited the Rape Crisis Center.

Oyster Roast for a Reason

Check out these photos from the UGA Marine Extension and Georiga Sea Grant Oyster Roast for a Reason. Presented by Oyster South, a regional non-profit organization, the Oyster Roast for a Reason is a fundraising event that celebrates Georgia's first oyster hatchery and helps continue the University of Georgia's efforts to bring the oyster farming industry back to the Georgia coast.

Lip Syncing with Ghost Coast

One epic battle took place on Halloween night, and it all went down at Ghost Coast Distillery in Savannah. Visitors wore their funniest (and scariest!) costumes for the 2017 Halloween event. Many donned costumes that portrayed the singer they would be on stage during the lip sync battle.

Savannah Children's Book Festival 2017

This Saturday brought thousands of visitors to Forsyth Park for the annual Savannah Children's Book Festival. Hosted by the Live Oak Public Libraries, the day-long event showcased the talents of eleven featured authors and thirty-nine indie authors, illustrators, and performing artists from around the country. This year’s festival includes book signings and readings, arts and crafts, community partners and nonprofit organizations, as well as food.

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!

Thursday night was the night to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day at 39 Rue De Jean in Savannah! The arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau symbolizes the official end of this year’s growing season. Harvest is complete and vintners—especially in France—are ready to celebrate the completion of the harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine that is annually released on the third Thursday in November. Nouveau wine undergoes a very short fermentation process, and yields an extremely fresh and fruity wine. Attendees enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres, an oyster roast outside on the patio, and Henry Fessy Beaujolais Nouveau.

Taste of Savannah Food and Wine Festival 2017

This signature, festival event was a huge hit at its new location, the Georgia State Railroad Museum! Guests wandered the grounds savoring hundreds of wines, spirits, craft beers and more.

13 Secrets Jewelry One-Year Anniversary

Boutique owners Chad and Manu celebrated the one-year anniversary of 13 Secrets Thursday, Nov. 9. Event highlights included gourmet appetizers by local chefs, a wine tasting, door prizes and great networking opportunities! Here's to another great year!

Celebrity Chef Dinner

A night featuring dishes by some of the South's best, James Beard Awarded, Chef's of 2017. The night included multiple courses, each paired with the perfect wine to complement the flavors. Simply put - a dinner one will not soon forget!