Bail hearing in South Carolina raises questions - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Bail hearing in South Carolina raises questions

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The suspect in the Charleston church shooting appeared in court Friday. The 21-year-old Dylann Roof is facing nine counts of murder and weapons charge in connection with the shooting at the Emanuel A-M-E Church.

In a move surprising to some, the judge spoke out at Dylann Roof's hearing and allowed the victim's relatives to do the same.

They described their pain and anger but also spoke of forgiveness.

In California, a victim's loved ones speak after a trial has started, so not only is it rare to have them speak out in court so early on, but it's extremely unique to have the judge weigh in as well.

Criminal Defense Attorney Allen Bloom said what happened on Friday is not how the justice system should work.

"The system is supposed to be fair," he said.

Bloom, however, said what happened at the suspected church gunmen's bond hearing was just the opposite.

For starters, the judge opened up by making a comment to the people of Charleston.

Bloom said the judge's words violate his obligation to not let his personal opinion get in the way of a case.

"A statement which is not an unbiased statement, but a statement which is clearly assuming he is guilty of this crime," said Bloom.

Bloom was surprised the defense attorney did not object. The victims' loved one spoke out as well.

Some forgave the suspect, Dylan Roof. Others, talked about the pain he caused.

Bloom said while South Carolina law does allow victims and/or their family and friends to speak during bond hearings, technically, they are only suppose to address associated with bail.

"So for them to be able to speak on personal feelings, that's improper presentation," said Bloom.

Something else that stuck Bloom as odd were the two men who were standing behind Roof. Bloom said there was no need for them to be wearing what he called SWAT gear inside a jail. Bloom believes it was orchestrated on purpose.

"The justice system should not do that," he said.

Bloom said it was not likely the judge will be formally punished for his statements.

The next court hearing is scheduled for October.

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