Attorneys for Michael Slager file opening brief in federal appeal case

Updated: May. 18, 2018 at 12:19 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager has filed the opening brief for his appeal in the U.S. fourth circuit court of appeals.

The brief, filed Monday, details the reasoning for why Slager and his attorneys believe he should be resentenced for the killing of motorist Walter Scott.

Slager's team argues five main points in the 50-page document.

The first is that Feidan Santana, the bystander who shot video of the killing, provided "speculative" testimony, which the brief states was taken into account more than three other "expert" testimonies who said there was a more violent encounter between Scott and Slager that was not caught on camera.

Second, Slager's team contests it was wrong of Judge David Norton to consult the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on Scott because the pathologist was Norton's wife and he didn't notify Slager's defense team before he did it.

Third, the brief claims the court made a mistake when it decided Slager's statements to SLED on April 7, 2015 constituted obstruction of justice. The brief states SLED already had the Sanatana video at that time and didn't tell Slager they had it in their possession. Slager was arrested that same day.

Fourth, the brief says that SLED agent Megan Fletcher's testimony was unreliable claiming that it pointed to Slager's story evolving over time. Fifth, Slager's brief argues that it's a violation of double jeopardy. A mistrial was declared in Slager's murder trial on the state level. 

The brief also elaborates on the presentence report, which recommended a voluntary manslaughter sentence for Slager of 121 to 150 months. The brief asks for Slager to be resentenced along those guidelines.

Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison in December 2017 guilty to a charge of violating Walter Scott's civil rights under the color of the law.

Prosecutors sought life in prison for second-degree murder while the defense hoped for anywhere from 10 to 12 years for manslaughter for the Apirl 2015 shooting that was captured on video by Santana.

Slager is currently in Colorado serving time at  Englewood Federal Correctional Institution.

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