South Carolina's Three Attorney General Canidates Address Domestic Violence

In a May 27th feature in The State newspaper, the three candidates in the upcoming Republican primary for Attorney General were asked there poisition regarding criminal domestic violence. You can read the complete article here. The Attorney General is the State's general counsel and chief prosecutor.

Robert Bolchoz respondened that it was "imperative for the Attorney General to aggressively pursue violations of the law [in this] area."

Leighton Lord stateded that under his leadership the Attorney's General's office "would continue to be very active in criminal domestic violence including working with the support agencies that help protect and shelter victims of criminal domestic violence."

Alan Wilson stated that he had "seen how domestic violence destroys lives and will work to combat domestic violence through prosecution and victim's advocacy."

The vast majority of Criminal Domestic Violence charges brought in South Carolina are handled at the level of the individual county Magistrate or Municipal Court level. Several years ago, when it became a "hot button" issue, the Attorney General's office issued a mandate to local police agencies and prosecutors to not consent to a dismissal of CDV charges. Charges that were dismissed would otherwise be "picked up" by the Attorney General's office and prosecuted. Assistant South Carolina Attorney Generals have traveled the state since trying both misdemeanor and felony domestic violence cases.

It appears that whoever is elected as the next Attorney General in South Carolina will cotninue and maintain the emphasis devoted to prosecuting CDV charges. These efforts include:

1. Attempting to enfore that specially trained lawyers prosecute CDV cases whenever possible (compared to having the arresting officer as in most misdemeanor cases);

2. Not consenting to dropping or dismissing CDV cases, even in cases where the victim seeks to have the charges dismissed; and

3. Encouraging local authorities and the Court to aggressively pursue contempt sanctions against defendants who violate "no contact" orders by making contact with alleged victims who are their spouse or their children's mother or father.

Categories: Domestic Violence
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