South Carolina residents have likely read media stories about prisoners who were exonerated after spending years behind bars when witnesses recanted or DNA evidence proved their innocence. The National Registry of Exonerations keeps track of these cases, and its latest annual report reveals that the 151 prisoners exonerated in 2018 were incarcerated for a total of 1,639 years. This works out to about 11 years behind bars per exonerated prisoner and is the highest number observed since the organization began tracking this data in 1989.
Racial discrimination can affect many aspects of the criminal prosecution, trial and sentencing of people in South Carolina. One often-overlooked aspect of racial disparities in the criminal justice system involves the mistaken recording and understanding of Black English in the courtroom. One study examined court stenographers in Philadelphia, finding that they made errors in two-fifths of the sentences spoken in Black English grammar and accurately paraphrased only a third of the content.
Judges in South Carolina and around the country take the protections guaranteed by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments seriously. That's why evidence gathered during warrantless searches or coercive interrogations is unlikely to withstand scrutiny unless the police officers involved have compelling arguments. However, the law has sometimes been slow to respond to challenges raised by new technology. Most cellphones contain extremely sensitive information about their owners, but the degree to which the U.S. Constitution protects this data remains uncertain.
Scholarly work has suggested that people in South Carolina and elsewhere can make errors when picking a person out of a lineup. In some cases, an individual will pick up on a cue given by a police officer. Research also suggests that a person has a hard time recognizing someone of a different race. Over time, an individual may be manipulated into feeling more confident in his or her choice, and he or she may actually offer testimony at trial.
On June 22, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement agencies must generally obtain a warrant before accessing someone's cell site location information, or CSLI. Legal experts say the 5-4 decision modernizes the Fourth Amendment and provides important new privacy protections for all U.S. citizens, including the residents of South Carolina.
According to an estimate from the National Safety Council, there were more than 40,000 traffic deaths in 2017. Furthermore, 36 percent of all trips resulted in distracted driving on South Carolina roads and others throughout the country according to Cambridge Mobile Telematics. As a general rule, research shows that older drivers tend to focus on the road better than younger drivers. Those who drive for a living also tend to be safer than those who don't.
A 38-year-old South Carolina woman is facing multiple counts of felony DUI following a car crash that killed two people on May 26. The accident occurred in Laurens County.
Some people in South Carolina allow their friends or family members to drive rental cars for which they are not the authorized drivers. When unauthorized drivers are stopped by the police, the police might search the cars. The Supreme Court issued a ruling on May 14 that law enforcement officers cannot search rental vehicles that are being driven by unauthorized drivers without having a warrant or probable cause to believe that the cars contain evidence of crimes.
Medical identity theft can take a long time to come to light, and physicians are as much at risk as patients. Once someone discovers a fraudulent scheme, an investigation may ensue, and a doctor's career and reputation could be in jeopardy.
When you have been caught and charged with committing an illegal activity, you may believe your future has been ruined. Although any negative interaction with law enforcement or the judicial system may present difficulties for you later in life, it is not the same as having to face the consequences of an actual criminal conviction. You still have the right to a trial and for a judge or jury (depending on the crime) to find you guilty before receiving any punishment. The right to this process and the possibility of not being convicted is due to the principle of presumption of innocence.