Lawyer Funding & Protection Act
The Propaganda & Criminals has finally decided to run a story about Paul Thurmond’s bill, S-700. Andrew Knapp did a good job pointing out the problems with the bill, which is why we linked to the story. We sure wish there was a decent alternative to the P&C that Andrew could go to work for. He is usually the only bright spot in the building.
S-700 will make anyone who publishes a mugshot on the internet a “business”. Yes, according to the language in the bill, that means YOU when you put up the mugshot of the guy who burgled your home, stole your car or murdered your family member. Post that mugshot to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds, or your blog, and you are a “business”, subject to arrest by authorities and subject to a civil lawsuit by the perpetrator when the solicitor dismisses or reduces his charges and you don’t take the mugshot down. Oh, wait…..read a little further and you will see you that according to the language in the bill you can be arrested and sued even if the charges haven’t been dismissed or reduced.
Paul Thurmond did an interview with Tara Servatius of 1250 WTMA about this on 30 July and did a miserable job of explaining his position. He was responding to a couple of posts we did on recent changes, and proposed changes, so some SC statutes we first referred to as The Criminal Protection Act (make sure you read that link), a follow-up to The Criminal Protection Act (make sure you read it), then changed to The Solicitor’s Protection Act when we realized what the full scope of the proposed changes and the actual intent of the legislation was.
The more we thought about this we realized we needed to change the title of the legislation yet again. It will now be known as The Lawyer Funding and Protection Act. Those are the two main goals of the legislation, after all.
One purpose of the legislation is to hide from the public the number of cases reduced or dismissed by your local solicitor. You know, the lawyers you elect and pay to ensure “justice” is done and to keep criminals off of your streets. Thurmond was pretty well spanked during that interview and avoided answering the hard questions, just as you would expect from a politician. Thurmond is a former employee of the 9th Circuit Solicitor who has taken a lot of heat in these pages for her miserable performance in allowing repeat violent offenders to roam our streets. Some of the proposed changes would remove information about dismissals and reduction of charges, in effect, hiding it from the public. Don’t worry, though, they will continue to steal money from you, in the form of taxes, to fund the cover-up.
By doing that they can hide things like Thurmond’s record as an assistant solicitor. In his own words, “I was 13-1 in trials in the three years I was an assistant solicitor. I was also in the top ten of every statistical category that was kept. Not sure where he got the inept, but given that I handled a couple thousand cases,…” Yeah, he said “thousands”. What a ratio, huh? Can’t have some former solicitor running for state or national office and have those records come out, you know. It might make things difficult for them.
During the interview, Thurmond wanted you to believe he was only interested in looking out for the little guy. The truth will out, though. In his piece for the P&C, Andrew Knapp brings out yet another reason for Thurmond and his lawyer supporters to advocate for this bill and it has something to do with the front page ad Thurmond runs in that little mugshot newspaper you can buy at the convenience store.
“Thurmond took out the only front-page advertisement, which encourages defendants to call him.” reports Knapp. It’s all about the cash flow, isn’t it, Paul? You see, folks, that what politicians do these days. You elect them to office, but instead of looking out for your interests, their only desire is to pad their own pockets while they are in office and pass laws to ensure they can continue to do so after they leave office.
He doesn’t give a damn about the little guy. He cares about the money from the lawsuits he will file against average Joes and Janes like you, and like us, after his legislation passes. Heck, his legislation even includes newspapers and television news stations. Deep pockets there. Lawyers love deep pockets.
On July 30th the radio host pointed out that this legislation would make criminals of common citizens and those who report the news other than the local “news” stations. Thurmond’s response? “No one ever wrote a perfect bill the first time out. They get amended.” Okay. Let’s see if anything has changed in the section of 17-1-40 Thurmond wants to add. You might want to note - after Thurmond’s seemingly contrite statement this bill was passed to the Judiciary Committee with no changes. Thurmond, like most politicians of the day, doesn’t mean a single thing he says.
(E) A person or entity who publishes on the person or entity’s publicly available website a mug shot of a person who is arrested and booked in South Carolina is deemed to be transacting business in South Carolina. Within thirty days of the sending of a written request by a person described in subsection (A), including the person’s name, date of birth, date of arrest, and the name of the arresting law enforcement agency, such person or entity shall, without fee or compensation, remove from the person or entity’s website any mug shots of the person described in subsection (A). The written request must be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the registered agent, principal place of business, or primary residence of the person or entity who published the website. A person or entity who fails to remove the mug shot pursuant to this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both. Additionally, a person described in subsection (A) may file a civil cause of action against a person or entity who fails to remove a mug shot pursuant to this subsection.”
Nope. Nothing changed. Thurmond was bullshitting the interviewer and you, the listener. You WILL be affected by this change if you don’t raise a hue and cry and stop it in it’s tracks.
Pay attention folks - here is what Thurmond and his lawyer/legislator pals are trying to slip past you.
Read Section (E) again. Do you see any language specifying the charge must be reduced or dismissed before the subject of the mugshot can ask for removal or sue you? We don’t. So, what this section states is that putting up the mugshot of ANYONE on your Facebook page, not just those who have had charges reduced or dismissed, makes you a criminal and subject to civil lawsuits. You would think a lawyer like Paul Thurmond, who seems to be so impressed with his own abilities, would be more aware of the legal deficiencies of the legislation he proposed. Oh, wait….he said he had people in his office write it for him. He sure has learned a lot from the President, hasn’t he?
They included the language in the summary of the legislation, but not in the actual text of the proposed amendment. Now, we never went to law school, but we do have access to a couple of things known as “logic” and “common sense”. We also know how to read. Thurmond didn’t expect anyone to catch this little “slip up”.
TO AMEND SECTION 17-1-40, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, , RELATING TO THE DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS WHERE CHARGES HAVE BEEN DISMISSED, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON OR ENTITY WHO PUBLISHES ON THE PERSON OR ENTITY’S PUBLICLY AVAILABLE WEBSITE A MUG SHOT OF A PERSON WHOSE CHARGES HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED, DISMISSED, OR THE PERSON HAS BEEN FOUND NOT GUILTY, SHALL, WITHOUT FEE OR COMPENSATION, REMOVE THE MUG SHOT FROM THE PERSON OR ENTITY’S WEBSITE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF THE PERSON SENDING A WRITTEN REQUEST TO THE PERSON OR ENTITY, AND TO PROVIDE THE PENALTIES FOR A PERSON OR ENTITY WHO FAILS TO REMOVE SUCH MUG SHOTS.
The president of the SC Press Association, Bill Rogers, doesn’t think this bill will pass due to Constitutional issues. We can point you to a few other states, Bill, including Georgia - the state Thurmond lifted some of his language from - that would prove otherwise. According the article, Richland County is already censoring information which was formerly available to the public. Where is the outcry from attorneys and Constitutionalists over that? Where is the outcry from the taxpayers of Richland County who have had their right to access public information abridged?
We have already seen how lawyers and politicians ignore the wishes of the citizens they were elected to serve - remember those judicial reviews in recent weeks which resulted in judges like Alison Lee and Thomas “Felon’s Friend” Hughston being retained?
We can’t do this alone, folks. It takes more than a few citizens to hold these politician’s feet to the fire. This is one of those issues which needs to spread far and fast. Statewide. And quickly. Share this with everyone in your contact lists and encourage them to call these greedy bastards out.