Lexington, SC - Eleventh Circuit Deputy Solicitor Shawn Graham received the 2017 Ernest F. Hollings Award for Excellence in State Prosecution this week at the South Carolina Solicitors’ Association Annual Conference. This award is given to the top prosecutor in the State of South Carolina. The Hollings Award historically has been awarded to solicitors across the State who have been outstanding in carrying out what justice requires and upholding the position with integrity.
Solicitor Rick Hubbard nominated Deputy Solicitor Graham for this honor. “Shawn effectively manages all of his duties and responsibilities in the office, which include prosecuting capital murder cases and other violent crimes, and mentoring assistant solicitors in a supervisory capacity. He is the epitome of a career prosecutor driven by dedication, commitment, and a passion for justice. Shawn is a model of professionalism, always exemplifying the highest of ethical standards,” commented Solicitor Hubbard.
The nomination included letters of support from multiple law enforcement leaders, including Sheriff Jay Koon of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Chief Terrence Green of the Lexington Police Department, Chief Dennis Tyndall of the West Columbia Police Department, and Chief Wallace Oswald of the Batesburg Leesville Police Department. In his nomination letter, Sheriff Koon stated, “Graham has always and continues to play an important role in bridging the gap between law enforcement and courtroom proceedings.” Chief Terrence Green echoed similar sentiments in his nomination letter. Green commented, “Graham has shown enormous commitment to the law and its proper execution in order to provide justice for the entire Lexington community.”
Graham prosecutes murder cases and serious violent crimes for the Eleventh Circuit. In the past ten years, Deputy Solicitor Graham has successfully handled over forty (40) homicide cases – bringing twenty-four (24) of these cases to a jury trial – none of which resulted in a “not guilty” verdict. Graham has obtained a phenomenal number of murder convictions in complex cases.
Throughout his career, he has been involved with seven (7) death penalty cases and has been a member of the Capital Prosecution Team for the majority of his legal career. Death penalty cases are incredibly complicated and Graham has a vast amount of experience when it comes to handling them. He has been instrumental in both the preparation and trial of these capital cases. He was involved in the first double homicide case in South Carolina, State v. Kenneth Lynch, in which a defendant was convicted of murdering two victims whose bodies were never recovered. “Through his tireless efforts and hard work, the victims’ families were given a guilty verdict on both counts of Murder. Tears filled the eyes of the victims’ family members as they began to feel some sense of closure for their great loss,” commented Chief Tyndall.
Graham also mentors assistant solicitors in the office and routinely involves them in major criminal trials. This practice offers young attorneys invaluable training and courtroom skills. Graham is a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is an active member of his community and his church, Mt. Horeb Methodist Church in Lexington. He has previously served on the Board of the Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center. Graham is the proud father of two children, David who is 14 and Katy who is 11. Graham enjoys hiking, hunting, and spending time in the outdoors with his two children.
Graham was presented this prestigious honor by Solicitor Hubbard during the award ceremony at the Solicitors’ Conference. During the presentation, Solicitor Hubbard remarked that Graham “is effective in the courtroom, but he is not a man who boasts. He epitomizes what a true prosecutor is.” Solicitor Hubbard told a conference room filled with prosecutors from across the State, “we are in the business of doing the right thing and doing it for the right reason. Our goal should be not to see our name in the headlines or the newspaper, but to go home at night and be able to look at ourselves in the mirror …we can live with what we have done because what we did was right. Shawn Graham epitomizes that.” Solicitor Hubbard expressed he was “incredibly proud that this is a moment we can honor a man who doesn’t honor himself. He just does his job and he does it well.”