Justice 360 v. Bryan Stirling, No. 21-2205 (4th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Justice 360 offers post-conviction representation to South Carolina’s death-row inmates. In the current matter, Justice 360 acts solely on its own behalf. The organization’s Amended Complaint alleges that South Carolina Code Section 24-3-580 (“Identity Statute”)— which protects against the disclosure of certain information related to the State’s execution protocols—violates its First Amendment right to counsel clients and to participate in public debate about the death penalty.
The district court rejected those assertions, and Justice 360 timely appealed, challenging only the dismissal of its claims against the South Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC” or the “Department”) and its director. The Fourth Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, holding that Justice 360 lacks standing. The court explained that granting Justice 360 the relief it seeks in its Amended Complaint would amount to no more than an impermissible advisory opinion, as the organization’s alleged injuries would remain unredressed.