It was Might, and De’Quenci Parker was sitting within the Charleston County jail, charged in a rash of West Ashley automotive break-ins. Leon Stavrinakis thought he had been sitting too lengthy. And he began making calls.
First, he telephoned Charleston’s police chief, Luther Reynolds, and when he didn’t just like the solutions he bought, he known as Mayor John Tecklenburg. “It was uncommon the way in which they dealt with it,’’ Stavrinakis informed me. “Over 30 years of working towards regulation I had not seen that.’’
However Stavrinakis wasn’t simply one other protection lawyer making calls for an additional shopper. He’s additionally a state legislator, and as a member of the highly effective Home Methods and Means Committee, he has a giant say in any invoice that directs a greenback to — or away from — town of Charleston.
It’s a protected wager that neither Stavrinakis nor Tecklenburg is glad to see this story within the paper. Stavrinakas would most likely simply as quickly not promote to his constituents that he was making calls to get a man out of jail who’s accused of breaking into 54 automobiles in his Home District 119. And Tecklenburg doesn’t want an enemy on a committee that allocates cash for flooding and every little thing else. Tecklenburg, by the way in which, beat Stavrinakis by 15 factors within the mayoral race six years in the past.
However the story of De’Quenci De’Shun Parker presents a window into the twin function lawyer-legislators typically play within the sausage manufacturing unit that passes for our alleged justice system. It’s notably well timed as crime surges throughout the nation, Charleston and South Carolina very a lot included. “Arrest, launch, repeat,’’ I’ve known as it in my current columns.
Parker, a 28-year-old North Charleston resident, was charged in Might with breaking into dozens of automobiles at condo buildings alongside U.S. Freeway 61 in West Ashley. In response to arrest warrants filed with the clerk of courtroom and police studies obtained by way of open-records requests, Parker is accused of stealing debit and bank cards from the automobiles and utilizing them at cash machines at fuel stations and Walmarts.
He’s additionally accused of stealing three weapons, together with a lady’s pink Glock, and a stun gun. (Consideration gun homeowners: The gun you allow in your automotive tonight could also be used to kill somebody tomorrow in your neighborhood or mine. You’ll have a Second Modification proper to go away it in your automotive; it doesn’t make it proper or sensible. It makes you negligent.)
Parker had been within the county jail for a few week when Stavrinakis known as Reynolds, the police chief, to complain that the cops have been dragging their ft and submitting costs “piecemeal.’’ Stavrinakis informed me he hasn’t been formally retained by Parker within the case, however “assisted him within the bond course of.’’ He additionally represents Parker in a drug case that’s nonetheless pending 4 years later, courtroom data present.
Stavrinakis mentioned he later known as the mayor to debate his trade with the chief however not Parker’s case itself. “I don’t know any particulars of the instances,’’ Stavrinakis mentioned. He mentioned he couldn’t remark for Parker.
In all, Parker spent two weeks in jail earlier than he was launched on $305,000 bail on costs starting from breaking into automobiles to monetary fraud to medicine. The police say it was an advanced investigation, and it took time to trace down video proof and interview victims.
About that decision to the mayor: “Rep. Stavrinakis known as to precise his issues, the mayor thanked him for the decision and that was that,” metropolis spokesman Jack O’Toole mentioned in an announcement. “No motion was requested or supplied and none was taken.”
Everybody owns a bit of our overwhelmed judicial system: the police, the prosecutors, the courts. And the Legislature, too.
The Legislature has all the time been the province of attorneys, notably the Home and Senate judiciary committees, which oversee adjustments in felony and civil issues. That’s usually an excellent factor as a result of the regulation is difficult and most nonlawyers don’t know what they don’t know in relation to all types of issues in regards to the regulation.
However that additionally offers felony protection attorneys outsized affect on felony legal guidelines and plaintiffs attorneys particular sway that may profit their purchasers. Oftentimes, even different attorneys don’t know sufficient to appreciate what’s taking place when the sausage is getting made in committee.
There’s maybe no higher instance of the protection bar’s affect than the state’s porous drunken driving legal guidelines. Whereas the regulation requires suspected impaired drivers who refuse to supply a breath or blood pattern to lose their license for six months, any respectable DUI lawyer can get you a provisional license till you get to trial. The very best repair could be so as to add an ignition-interlock gadget requirement to qualify for a brief license, however that’s been blocked within the Home. And that is only one of a number of loopholes within the regulation.
Weapons are one other instance. Getting caught with an unlawful gun hardly ever comes with greater than a slap on the wrist, even for felons. Getting arrested as soon as or 5 occasions with an unlawful gun is all the identical, in contrast to another crimes that carry escalating penalties. Certainly, the Legislature is shifting in simply the mistaken route with its new open-carry regulation, a cop’s worst nightmare.
The judicial system does a poor job of finding out those that don’t must be in jail from those that do. To repair it can require adjustments at each cease alongside the way in which of our damaged just-keep-the-line-moving justice system. The Legislature could be an excellent place to start out.
Steve Bailey will be reached at email@example.com.