Chris Geel is an attorney focusing his practice on criminal trials and appeals. Since joining the Law Office of Christopher W. Adams, Chris has represented clients in state and federal courts in Charleston and throughout the state of South Carolina, as well as on direct appeal before South Carolina’s appellate courts and in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Before joining the Law Office of Christopher W. Adams, Chris Geel served as a trial attorney in the Charleston County Public Defender Office. In his last jury trial as a public defender, Chris won an acquittal in a murder prosecution in the Charleston County General Sessions Court by showing that his client acted in self-defense. During his time with the public defender, Chris handled hundreds of criminal cases in General Sessions (felony) court, earning dismissals of dozens of serious charges on behalf of his clients, ranging from drug possession to armed robbery.
After finishing law school, Chris began the practice of law in Atlanta by writing motions and appeals for many of the top criminal lawyers in Georgia. Chris later joined the Appellate Division of the Georgia Public Defender Council, where he represented clients on appeal and in post-conviction relief before the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Georgia. His appellate work led to the reversal of several of his clients’ convictions, for charges ranging from Stalking and DUI to Aggravated Assault and Murder. (See representative cases below).
A native of Plainsboro, New Jersey, Chris received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University (honor graduate with a double major in Economics and Political Science). He moved to Atlanta for law school and earned his J.D. from Emory University in 2009. He was the recipient of the Emory’s Pro Bono Award.
After practicing law in Atlanta for four years, Chris and his family moved to Charleston, South Carolina. Chris lives in Mount Pleasant with his wife and their baby daughter. He enjoys reading, going to the beach, and playing chess.
South Carolina, Georgia.
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers,
South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
• USA v. Qazah: Working with Chris Adams in a white-collar appeal out of Charlotte, NC, won a new sentencing from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in a cigarette theft and money laundering conspiracy case. The appellate court found that the trial court erred in calculating the loss amount and remanded the case for a new sentencing. USA v. Qazah, 810 F.3d 879 (4th Cir. 2015).
• Fripp v. State: won reversal of his client’s double-murder convictions due to improper conduct by the trial judge. In that case, the trial judge refused to remove himself from the case, despite evidence of a conflict of interest between the judge and the prosecutor’s office. The Supreme Court agreed that this was reversible error, and reversed Chris’ client’s convictions for murder, armed robbery, and related charges. 779 S.E.2d 624 (2015)
• Autry v. State: won reversal of his client's stalking conviction. The Court agreed that the State had failed to present sufficient evidence at trial to sustain a conviction. Because Chris prevailed on this argument, the client could not be tried again on the charges. 701 S.E.2d 596 (2011)
• Wagner v. State: won reversal of his client’s DUI conviction due to an improper burden-shifting jury instruction. Chris also represented the client when the case was sent back for re-trial, and was able to negotiate a reduction to a minor traffic violation. The DUI charge was dropped. 716 S.E.2d 633 (2011)
• Culbreath v. State: won reversal of client’s aggravated assault conviction in the Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals agreed that the trial court failed to properly consider his client’s motion for speedy trial. 761 S.E.2d 557 (2014)
• Wiggins v. State: Working with Lawrence Zimmerman (Atlanta, GA), won an illegal search case in the Court of Appeals. Chris and Lawrence argued that the trial court improperly denied a pre-trial motion to suppress. The client had been illegally detained and searched near his home as a result of an anonymous tip that an officer had received. Based on the illegal search, officers obtained a search warrant, and were able to search the client’s home. The Court of Appeals agreed that this violated the client’s Fourth Amendment rights, and reversed the lower court’s ruling. 771 S.E.2d 135 (2015)
• State v. BH: won acquittal for client in murder trial in Charleston, South Carolina. Chris’ client was charged with murder and several related counts. The client shot and killed an intruder on the porch of his home, but was charged with murder. Chris showed that his client acted in self-defense. After a five-day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict of not-guilty on all charges. 2014A1010202435