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Greenville South Carolina Criminal Defense Blog

South Carolina woman sentenced for poisoning her husband

A 53-year-old South Carolina woman was sentenced to spend 25 years in prison on Jan. 16 after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. The woman originally faced a raft of charges including homicide for poisoning her husband in July 2018. The judge who handed down the sentence said that he took the victim's suffering into consideration. The man was poisoned with eye drops over a period of three days.

The woman was taken into custody by the York County Sheriff's Office about a month after medical examiners discovered unusually high levels of tetrahydrozoline during the victim's autopsy. The substance is a decongestant used to relieve eye inflammation and is found in many over-the-counter pharmaceutical products. Deputies say she admitted administering eye drops without her husband's knowledge or consent, but she claimed that she only wanted to make him ill and did not intend to kill him.

When does a tip become insider trading?

Investing in the stock market is always a risk. The market changes from day to day. If you follow the market each day, you may bite your fingernails if your investment begins to sink or celebrate if your stocks rise. Wouldn't it be great if you could know when a stock price was going to go up or down so you could make your trades accordingly?

Most of the time, only a small group of people know if something is going on in a company that may affect its stock price. Anything that affects the confidence of the consumers and the shareholders can impact the value of a stock, and using that privileged information to decide when to buy or sell securities is called insider trading. In many cases, insider trading is illegal.

Understanding embezzlement charges

You may have seen movies where a slick financier uses his skill and charm to embezzle money from an employer or from trusting investors. Hollywood may glorify these acts, but in real life, it is not so glamorous. In fact, if you are facing charges of embezzlement from your employer, your life may feel anything but glamorous.

The charges you face and the potential consequences ahead depend on many factors. Investigators have likely been examining the case and gathering evidence, perhaps for months, so you are already at a disadvantage. It may help you to understand the charges you are up against and the options available for your defense strategy.

Man accused of kidnapping and beating women

A 25-year-old South Carolina man was accused of kidnapping two women on two separate occasions. The first charge was filed after the man was brought into custody for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend over a two-day period and taking her cellphone so that she couldn't call for help. When the man was released on bail, he allegedly got rid of a GPS monitor that he was wearing.

According to reports, the second kidnapping charge was filed after the man agreed to drive a woman to a Walmart store in South Carolina. After the woman got into his pickup truck, the man allegedly told her that she could not leave because he was wanted by the police. The woman claims that the man destroyed her cellphone and then beat and raped her while the two traveled to Maine.

Critics say drug laws disproportionate and ineffective

Before the year ends, Congress must decide whether to make an emergency order by the Drug Enforcement Agency permanent. People in South Carolina who are facing charges related to selling drugs may only have sold small amounts to friends. Critics of the temporary DEA order and other drug laws say they penalize these users and sellers while failing to target big dealers.

The emergency order, which expires in February, classifies subjects that are like fentanyl as Schedule 1 drugs. The bill that would make it permanent is called Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues. The Department of Justice says it makes it easier for federal agents to pursue and prosecute people who create these analogues. However, the Drug Policy Alliance has called for an approach that looks at why drugs are being bought and sold instead of imposing increasingly harsh sentences.

Racial disparity persists in criminal justice system

Racial disparities continue to affect the criminal justice system in South Carolina and across the United States. Despite highly publicized issues drawing attention to racial bias in criminal prosecution and sentencing, black people are still much more likely to be incarcerated across the country. While statistics show that racial differences have narrowed in the past 16 years in local jails and state prisons, disturbing trends continue to exist. According to the Council on Criminal Justice, the biggest decline in racial disparity was shown in cases involving drug offenses. These cases have been highlighted particularly in campaigns pressing for reform of the criminal justice system, especially as they often involve nonviolent offenders.

In 2000, black defendants were over 15 times more likely to be jailed for drug crimes than white defendants. By 2016, that multiple dropped to five times, still a significant disparity but also reflecting a substantial reduction in disparity. The council that released the report says that it brings together people dealing with the criminal justice system, including members of the Black Lives Matter movement, police representatives and government officials. The continuing disparities have been attributed to several factors, including bias by court officials, differences in the types of crimes committed and "tough-on-crime" policies.

Five men charged with murdering USC student

Five men have been charged in connection with the murder of a University of South Carolina student. The 22-year-old Columbia man was shot and killed on March 26 in his off-campus residence. The arrests, which were announced by the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office on Nov. 22, were the result of an investigation that lasted eight months. Four of the men have been charged with murder and armed robbery. The fifth man, who police believe fired the fatal shot, has been charged with murder and possessing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

An SCSO representative said that investigators made a breakthrough when they studied cellphone records that allegedly revealed the five men conspired to visit the student at a Spartanburg apartment complex to rob him at gunpoint. The records are said to reveal that all of the men knew about the scheme and were in favor of it. Several of the men have confessed to participating in the armed robbery according to the SCSO.

How will RICO laws affect your criminal defense?

Whether it came as a surprise to you or not, the day police or government agents swarmed into your place of business and arrested you for participating in organized crime may have been one of the darkest days of your life. Not only did it place your personal future at risk but also the future of your business and subsequently, the well-being of your family who depends on it.

Understanding the charges you face is the first step to building a strong criminal defense. It is also important to know that no matter how much evidence authorities claim to have against you, you still have rights, and there may be options available that can lessen the negative outcomes of your situation.

Are you facing health care fraud charges?

Health care providers are in a position of trust. Their patients trust that they will do what is best for them. There are a select few medical professionals in South Carolina who take advantage of various opportunities to make more money -- opportunities that are questionable in nature or even illegal. Health care fraud is damaging to the medical profession, insurance providers and, most importantly, patients. The federal government does not treat this issue lightly, and neither should you if you find yourself charged with committing this type of fraud.

Those accused of health care fraud are often thought to be members of organized crime groups or are just health care providers who stand accused of being dishonest. There are also those facing charges for crimes they did not commit. It does not matter which of these situations applies to your case; the consequences if prosecuting attorneys achieve a conviction can be severe, so how you approach the situation matters.

Subconscious bias may play a role in courtroom

In South Carolina courtrooms, judges are expected to be as unbiased as possible when making rulings and imposing sentences on those accused of crimes. Recent studies have shown that remaining unbiased in the courtroom may be more difficult than once believed.

Neuroscientists have been studying the power of subconscious behavior for years. The human brain often acts in a contrary manner to conscious beliefs, influencing outward behavior. In settings such as a courtroom where actions have far-reaching effects that may last for years, subconscious behavior plays a significant role.

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William G. Yarborough Attorney at Law
308 W. Stone Avenue
Greenville, SC 29609

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Phone: 864-326-3026
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William G. Yarborough Attorney at Law