Building A Strong Defense Against Criminal Charges

Building A Strong Defense Against Criminal Charges

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Johnny Gasser

Columbia, SC
Johnny Gasser graduated Phi Beta Kappa receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina in 1984. He received his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1987, graduating Cum Laude. Finishing in the top ten in his class earned Mr. Gasser membership in the South Carolina Chapter of The Order of the Coif.


Prosecution Background:

Johnny became an Assistant Solicitor in the Fifth Judicial Circuit in 1987 and in November 1993 was appointed Deputy Solicitor where he served in that position for nine years. In December 2002, he joined the staff at the United States Attorney’s Office in Columbia as a Deputy Chief in charge of the Violent Crime Section. He was responsible for the supervision of twelve staff attorneys in the Columbia, Charleston, Florence and Greenville offices. On January 21, 2005, he was appointed Acting United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina and on August 16, 200S, he was sworn in as the United States Attorney for an interim term after receiving an executive appointment from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He served in that position until February 23, 2006, whereupon he returned as the Violent Crime Section Chief. He spent four years as a member of the Attorney General’s Review Committee on Capital Cases in which he advised Attorney General John Ashcroft and Attorney General Gonzales on potential federal death penalty cases in the United States. On September 1, 2007, Johnny left government service and formed the Law Office of Harris & Gasser with his partner, Gregory P. Harris. The firm focuses primarily on federal and state criminal defense with an expanding personal injury and wrongful death civil practice.


Litigation Experience:

Johnny prosecuted thousands of criminal cases over his twenty-year career in the state and federal system, the largest percentage being violent felony offenders. He has handled over 150 jury trials, again most of which were violent felony cases. He has worked on approximately 400 homicide cases, to include in excess of 85 jury trials. He has prosecuted eight death penalty cases, including the United States Supreme Court’s original case on “future dangerousness”, Simmons v. South Carolina, as well as the first two federal death penalty cases in South Carolina history (United States v. Chadrick Fulks & United States v, Brandon Basham). Fulks and Basham were the first two defendants sentenced to death in the history of the Department of Justice where the victims’ bodies were never recovered. Johnny was the first prosecutor in South Carolina to convict a man of raping his wife under the state’s marital rape law; the first prosecutor in the state to successfully use Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy expert testimony in a child homicide case; and the first prosecutor in the nation to secure a homicide conviction in a crack cocaine fetus death.


Private Practice Experience:

Johnny Gasser has successfully represented doctors, lawyers, stock brokers, accountants, and business owners and executives in both state and federal court since entering private practice. He is a member of the South Carolina Bar, and is admitted to practice in the South Carolina Federal District Court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Johnny emphasizes quality legal service above all else and he has unprecedented trial experience over the past twenty years. He evaluates the facts and circumstances of each case and then develops effective strategies to ensure that the client’s best interests are protected. Johnny was recently included in the 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the specialties of Criminal Defense: Non-White-Collar and Criminal Defense: White-Collar.


Current Employment Position(s):


Bar Admissions:
South Carolina, 1987


University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, South Carolina, 1987
Honors: Member, South Carolina Chapter of The Order of the Coif

University of South Carolina, 1984
Bachelor of Science
Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
Major:  Criminal Justice


Honors and Awards:
The Order of the Palmetto – Highest Civilian Award in South Carolina, 2002

The Mayor’s Key to the City of Columbia, 2002

Honorary Lifetime Deputy Sheriff, Richland County Sheriffs Department, 2002

Ernest E. Hollings Award for Excellence in State Prosecution, Inaugural Award Recipient, 1997

Daniel R. McLeod Award, 1995

South Carolina Office of Victim’s Assistance Silver Scales of Justice Award, 1993


Professional Associations and Memberships:
John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court

South Carolina Judicial Invitational

South Carolina Criminal Law Section

Attorney General Review Committee on Capital Cases (AGRCCC), 2003 – 2007

South Carolina Child Fatality Advisory Committee
Past Member

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands, 2000 – Present
Board of Directors

St. John Neumann Catholic Church, Parish Advisory Council, 2004 – Present

Knights of Columbus (Council 724)


Birth Information:
November 10, 1962, Silver Spring, Maryland