Despite the best intentions of government and law enforcement, the criminal justice system often falls far short of the goal of rehabilitating those convicted of crimes. While recidivism rates in South Carolina reflect a downward trend over the past 10 years, some people continue to shuffle back and forth among prison, probation and jail. A 24-year-old man from South Carolina provides a sobering illustration of this pattern. Already with a long history of criminal charges dating back to at least 2012, the young man recently pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking cocaine and resisting law enforcement. A judge sentenced him to serve two concurrent 10-year sentences, one for each count.
The charges stem from an incident that reportedly took place in December 2016, at a time when the young man was on probation. He was driving his vehicle in the parking lot of an outlet mall in Bluffton, South Carolina, when a law enforcement officer pulled him over. It is unclear what initially prompted the traffic stop, but while the officer was standing next to the open driver’s side door, the man allegedly trapped him by putting the car in reverse, dragging the officer through the parking lot and, according to the prosecutor on the case, putting both the officer and bystanders in the area in danger. The extent of the officer’s injuries is unclear, but he reportedly fired several shots at the driver after pulling his gun. EMS personnel allegedly found 48 grams of cocaine on the driver’s person while treating him for his gunshot wounds.
The 2016 incident is only one of a long string of alleged offenses for which the young man has faced charges, starting with an accusation of robbery in 2012 when he was 17 years old. The most recent involves a shooting incident at a homecoming event at Ridgeland High School in October 2018. Charges of possession of a weapon during a violent crime and carrying a weapon on school property are still pending in connection with that event.
Those facing criminal charges related to drugs who would like to avoid cycling in and out of the criminal justice system may find it advantageous to consult an attorney.