CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision Monday that it won’t hear the case of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, who shot and killed Walter Scott in April 2015.
Attorneys for Slager submitted a petition for a writ of certiorari in April. The U.S. Supreme Court met last Thursday to decide whether Slager’s case would move forward before announcing a decision Monday along with a number of other cases.
The justices didn’t explain why Slager’s case was denied for a hearing and weren’t required to do so. The denial of the writ doesn’t mean the Supreme Court agreed with the Appeals Court ruling, it simply means four or fewer of the nine justices felt it was necessary to review the case.
The court had no obligation to hear his case and typically only accepts 100 to 150 out of more than 7,000 cases it is asked to review annually. The fourth circuit court of appeals denied Slager’s request for an appeal in February
Slager’s request for an appeal was based on the argument that the district court sentenced him using sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder and an additional two-level “enhancement.” Slager’s attorneys argued the court should have based his sentence using guidelines for voluntary manslaughter.
Slager was indicted in May 2016 by a federal grand jury that alleged Slager, “while acting under the color of law as an officer with the North Charleston Police Department, shot [and killed] Walter Scott without legal justification, willfully depriving him of the right...to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer.”
Slager was also tried on a charge of murder in state court, but that trial resulted in a hung jury and mistrial.
Slager then entered a global plea agreement with federal and state prosecutors, agreeing to plead guilty in federal court to one count of depriving Scott of his civil rights under color of law. In exchange, federal prosecutors agreed to drop remaining counts in the grand jury’s indictment and South Carolina agreed not to retry Slager and dismissed the murder charge.
Slager, 38, is an inmate at Englewood Federal Correctional Institution, a low-security facility in Littleton, Colorado. He’s scheduled for release in 2034.