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

  • Charleston Cars & Coffee

    Jun 17, 2017
    7:30 AM - 10:00 AM @ Mount Pleasant Towne Centre

    7:30am - 10:00am  FREE ADMISSION  Mount Pleasant Towne Centre,1712 Towne Centre Way,Mt Pleasant, SC 29464,USA A bunch of car and...

  • Charleston Farmers Market

    Jun 17, 2017
    8:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Marion Square

    8:00am - 2:00pm  FREE ADMISSION  Marion Square,329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403,USA Join us every Saturday in beautiful Marion...

  • The Forsyth Farmer's Market

    Aug 05, 2017
    9:00 AM - 11:00 AM @ The South end of Forsyth Park

    Shop local food and plant vendors! Kid and pet friendly FREE ADMISSION  

  • 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,...

  • 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...

  • Rodin: The Human Experience

    Aug 07, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Rodin: The Human Experience presents a selection of 32 figures in bronze by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), the French sculptor who left behind 19th...

  • #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...

  • Heroes & Villains Fan Fest

    Nov 18, 2017
    10:30 AM - 5:00 PM @ Georgia World Congress Center

    Georgia World Congress Center, 285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 10:30 am- 5:00 pm 2 day ticket- $90 Saturday...

  • Feed the Hungry

    Nov 18, 2017
    11:00 AM - 6:00 PM @ Rousakis Riverfront Plaza

    Rousakis Riverfront Plaza, Savannah, GA, 31401 On Saturday, 11:00am- 10 p.m., on Sunday, 11:00am- 6:00pm Every third Saturday and Sunday of...

  • The Art of Yoga Classes

    Sep 10, 2017
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Tybee Arts Association

    Yoga Me Fit launches a new program to kick off after Labor Day. “The Art of Yoga” classes will take place at 11 a.m. every Sunday starting...

  • The Art of Yoga

    Oct 08, 2017
    1:30 PM - 3:00 PM @ Tybee Arts Association

    Yoga Me Fit is slated to host "The Art of Yoga" sessions with 20% of all registration proceeds benefiting the work of the nonprofit organization,...

  • Party at the Point!

    Jun 16, 2017
    5:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina

    5:30pm-9:00pm  Charleston Harbor Resort,20 Patriots Point Road,Mount Pleasant, SC 29464,USA COST: $7 Join us every Friday at the Charleston...

  • ALJ Monday Night Ceramics

    Jun 12, 2017
    6:00 PM

    Students will learn how to build ceramic sculptures as well as hand crafting with various techniques in form and technique $60 for 4 sessions, $80...

  • Reggae Nights Summer Concert: Mystic Vibrations

    Aug 04, 2017
    7:30 PM - 7:30 PM @ James Island County Park

  • The RSM Classic 2017

    Nov 13, 2017
    All Day

    100 Retreat Avenue, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522 Daily Grounds Tickets- $25.00- $80.00 The 2017 event is scheduled for November 13-19 at Sea...

  • Animal Instinct

    Jul 15, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    The diversity of animal imagery in Animal Instinct reveals the wide-ranging roles animals inhabit in an anthropocentric world. From wild...

  • 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...

  • "Rodin: The Human Experience"

    Sep 01, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    Rodin: The Human Experience presents a selection of 32 figures in bronze by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), the legendary French sculptor whose...

  • Martial Arts Kung Fu for Kids

    Jun 12, 2017
    4:00 PM @ Atlantic Warriors Wing Chun Kung Fu

    A way for the kids to work hard and laugh hard. It teaches life lessons through physical activity. Atlanticwarriors.org $129 monthly (904)...

  • Margarita Monday Sail on the Palmetto Breeze

    Jun 19, 2017
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM @ Red's Icehouse

    6:00pm- 7:30pm  Red's Icehouse,100 Church St,Mt Pleasant, SC 29464,USA COST: $35/person. Ladies for $25 per Board PALMETTO BREEZE,...


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Scenes of the South

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!

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.

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!

Telfair Masquerade Ball 2017

Telfair's annual masquerade ball was once again one of the best events of the year! Party-goers donned masks, suits and ball gowns and danced the night away. Libations were flowing, appetizers were aplenty, and the DJ had everyone on the dance floor movin' and groovin'.

Pride Festival Savannah 2017

Downtown Savannah was colored rainbow Saturday Oct. 28 for the 2017 Pride Festival. People from all over the community came out to celebrate equality and love. The family-friendly event included live performances and entertainment.

Buy Local Savannah at Cohen's Retreat

The final Buy Local luncheon of the year kicked off on Thursday to a large crowd, plenty of delicious food, and great speakers. Many guests were in attendance and enjoyed listening to Jeff Kmiec, the general manager of the Desoto Hotel in Savannah, speak about the importance that the Desoto is placing on sourcing locally whenever possible, and how it helps both the business and the local community.

Good Times Jazz VIP Pre-Opening

The Good Times Jazz VIP Pre-Opening ceremony started off with a bang. Folks gathered at the Good Times Jazz Bar and Restaurant on Oct. 25 to sample food, enjoy libations, and network. The venue came about as a desire to bring Southern cuisine, fine wine and the best jazz to the heart of Savannah. Good Times Jazz Bar and Restaurant's grand opening is on Oct. 30 at their location at 107 W. Broughton.

Boo Bash Halloween Celebration 2017

Guys and ghouls danced the night away at this year's annual Boo Bash celebration. Guests were thoroughly entertained by the plethora of food and the open bar. The loud, upbeat music got everyone grooving, and the talent competition was superb. The competitors danced, sang, joked and lip synched their hearts out for the crowd.