First in state
For the first time in South Carolina history, a Facility Dog has been used to assist during live trial testimony in a courtroom. Roma, the first courthouse Facility Dog in South Carolina, made her debut in the courtroom recently when she accompanied a witness as she testified on the stand.
The Honorable J. Cordell Maddox ruled in favor of the State’s motion made by Assistant Solicitor Lauren Price to allow Roma to assist in the trial against Robert Joe Frost. Frost is being tried on charges of murder, attempted murder, first degree burglary, armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
“Roma is trained to bring calm and strength to victims and witnesses in what can be one of the most difficult times of their life,” said Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Her presence gave a key witness the comfort and courage to get on the stand and face a violent murderer. Cases like today are why we brought this program to Anderson and we look forward to utilizing Roma in the courtroom more in the future.”
Roma joined the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office in November of last year and since that time has been working in the Anderson office with her handler Assistant Solicitor Chelsey Moore. In addition to being used during trial, Roma assists at the Child Advocacy Center in Anderson, has sat in countless witness and victim interviews, and has even assisted defendants during pleas as well. While courtroom dogs are a growing practice across the country, Roma is currently the only courthouse Facility Dog in South Carolina