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Local attorney involved in Charleston church shooting case

Camden’s Deborah Butcher represents Joey Meek in bond hearing

Posted: September 22, 2015 4:33 p.m.
Updated: September 23, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Provided by Camden Law Firm/

Deborah Butcher

At least for a moment, Camden attorney Deborah Butcher found herself involved with one of the most high profile court cases in South Carolina history. Butcher, who, with her husband, Robert, own and operate the Camden Law Firm, represented Joey Meek at his federal court bond hearing in Columbia on Friday.

It’s uncertain whether or not Butcher will continue to be on Meek’s team as he faces federal charges of making false statements and concealing knowledge about a crime: that he knew more than he originally said of Dylann Roof’s plans to massacre nine people at Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church on June 17.

Butcher said it’s uncertain whether or not she’s staying on the case. Monday, a federal judge appointed Deborah Barbier as Meek’s lead attorney. Butcher said she plans to assist Barbier, but hadn’t filed her notice of appearance with the federal court in Columbia by the time the Chronicle-Independent went to press Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve never done federal criminal cases before,” Butcher said during a telephone interview from her office Tuesday morning, although she has worked on federal civil cases. “It needed an attorney with extensive federal criminal experience.”

She said Meek’s family has come to her before on other legal matters. She also confirmed Meek’s father lives in the Elgin area.

“They know I do criminal cases, so I stepped in to help them out with his bond,” Butcher said of how she became involved with the case.

Although her involvement has been limited so far, Butcher said she has been surprised by how quickly South Carolina and national media have published details of the proceedings.

“It’s amazing how the news media jumped on Debbie’s appointment,” Butcher said, referring to Barbier.

According to her website, Barbier was a federal prosecutor for 21 years. She also spent 15 years with the U.S. Attorney’s office in South Carolina. According to her biography on her website, she left government service in 2011 to enter private practice as a defense attorney, focusing on federal and state cases.

Butcher graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1987 with an economics degree, entered the South Carolina School of Law in 2002 and graduated in May 2005, according to the biography on her firm’s website. The biography states she has worked on cases involving the protection of and advocacy for people with disabilities and, under a U.S. Department of Justice grant, provided representation for domestic abuse victims. From 2007 to the beginning of 2013, she also worked as a public defender.

According to other media, Meek’s bond was set at $100,000.

Butcher said no further court appearances are scheduled at the moment.

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