Law in Action, a not for profit corporation, was founded in 2002 to help reduce overcrowding at the Greenville County Detention Center and to provide free lawyers for poor parents whose children faced expulsion from Greenville County schools. We have spent much of our first 15 years – the time has flown past – on the criminal justice system. Initially we discovered that defendants with 30 day misdemeanor charges were often held in jail as much as 3 or 4 times longer than their maximum possible sentences. We started getting those defendants out of jail on time and saved the county housing costs in the bargain. Later the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court issued a court order requiring release for all of those defendants at the 30 day mark. Later, we successfully argued, consistent with United States Supreme Court decisions, that jailed indigent defendants with minor charges are entitled to free lawyers. Our circuit judges agreed and the public defender office accepted those cases. Since then, Greenville County magistrate court defendants have access to free lawyers as a routine matter. Our justice system for magistrate court cases has caught up with the Supreme Court mandate thanks to the circuit judges, county magistrates and the public defender office. Not many, if any other counties can make the same claim. Although we have more to do in the criminal justice system, we have also ventured into civil cases with One Case at a Time. With this newest project Law in Action has taken on some civil and domestic cases for poor citizens who cannot find a program to help provide them with legal assistance. LIA has limited resources but unlimited interest in helping these people who fall through the many cracks.
Stephen J Henry
Director and Founder of Law In Action
Mr. Stephen J Henry has a sole practice in Greenville and focuses on criminal and juvenile defense, employment law for employees and civil rights case involving unlawful arrest and the use of excessive force. He also handles domestic cases, cases involving the rights of students and other personal injury matters. You can learn more about Mr. Henry’s private practice at his website, www.shjlaw.com
Mr. Henry founded Law in Action in 2002 to provide free lawyers for poor parents whose kids faced expulsion from school (Student Defense Project) and to help magistrate court detainees obtain earlier release from jail (Jail Project). Law in Action also provides workshops for non-lawyers (Workshops) and offers high school students mock trial programs (Mock Trials) twice per year with the help of its many volunteers.
Board of Directors