Many people in South Carolina know of their Miranda rights from watching television shows in which the famous warning is depicted at the scene of an arrest. However, people may be less certain about how these warnings carry over into real life and how it may affect their rights in a criminal case if the police fail to provide them with the appropriate warning. When police arrest someone on allegations of a crime, they must present the necessary warnings, which include telling the person that they have the right to remain silent, that their words could later be used against them in court, that they have the right to a lawyer and that a lawyer can be appointed for people who cannot afford to pay.
Studies show that judges in South Carolina and across the U.S. are not always unbiased in the court room. This can lead to unfair rulings against certain defendants.
While community service has been used as a humane alternative for jail time for individuals who cannot afford to pay court fees, it seems that there are times when it is not as fair as some would imagine. South Carolina residents and visitors may be interested in learning about some findings from a recent report that included 5,000 individuals who were ordered by the court to work off fines between the years 2013 and 2014.
In Florida and across the country, an increasing number of Americans, especially young people, have been arrested. In fact, young people are much more likely to be arrested than they were in generations past. This comes despite the fact that violent crime has been dropping for decades. However, researchers note that while arrests may seem less necessary than in the past, police may be more likely to turn to arrests and criminal charges for relatively petty matters. Criminal arrests, charges and convictions can interfere with a person's ability to gain employment, education and housing for many years to come, so the increasing arrest rate is of concern to many.
Felons in the United States lose many of their rights after a conviction. In addition to the more well-known losses of the rights to bear arms and vote, felons also cannot serve on a jury, live in certain places or adopt children. There are those who question whether America is too strict when it comes to felons, and South Carolina residents might wish to know more about this topic.
In some cases, police or prosecutors in South Carolina and other states will engage in misconduct that wrongfully sends a defendant to prison. However, researchers from Texas State University say that defendants are wrongfully convicted based on a variety of other factors. For instance, police may develop tunnel vision after identifying the individual who they believe likely committed the crime. Instead of objectively viewing the evidence, authorities may try to make it fit their narrative.
For years, politicians in South Carolina who have promised citizens to not raise taxes have been forced to increase fines and court fees as a means of running the state. Unfortunately, many of these fines and court fees result in jail time and probation when they can't be paid. Many people believe that these policies end up hurting members of the lower class.
In fiscal year 2018, there were roughly 80,000 defendants from South Carolina and other states who were charged with federal crimes. Of those defendants, only 2% decided to take their cases to trial, and another 8% had their cases dismissed according to the Pew Research Center. That means that in 90% of cases, defendants chose to plead guilty instead of taking their cases to trial. Of those who chose to go to trial, only 320 were acquitted by a judge or a jury.
For people in South Carolina who have interacted with the federal criminal justice system, the First Step Act could be of serious interest. The bill has been endorsed by a wide and unusual coalition of supporters, ranging from President Donald Trump to longtime criminal justice reform advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union. The First Step Act is widely regarded as a compromise proposal, and it has received a number of criticisms. Some say that the bill is too weak to address real flaws in the system. For those who could be affected by the legislation, it is important to understand its provisions.
If you drive about an hour and a half west of Myrtle Beach, you will come to Lake City, South Carolina. The town is perhaps best known as the home of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, one of the astronauts who died many years ago in the ill-fated Challenger shuttle explosion.