Clearing Things Up
We thought we would spend some time clearing things up relative to the charges against former Berkeley County sheriff Wayne DeWitt. We are a bit tired of reading comments on other sites from people who really have no idea what they are talking about.
First up is the news that DeWitt was indicted today by a Berkeley County grand jury on charges of DUI and a reduced charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage. If you folks ever get hit by someone in authority, remember that “minor” injuries are actually not injuries under the law. Or so some would have you believe when they pressure you to say you were not really hurt that badly. That part of the plan apparently worked.
Dewitt was also indicted on a charge of Failure to Stop for Blue Lights, thanks to the efforts of 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson who stepped up to the plate and did the right thing when law enforcement would not. Of course, that charge should have been lodged on the night in question by the authorities who actually pursued the drunken DeWitt. The fact that it was not caused a lot of anger and charges of favoritism. That missing charge also led to a SLED investigation of the Hanahan Police Department.
That particular investigation wrapped up on Wednesday or Thursday of last week. That should have given the 9th Circuit Solicitor plenty of time to prepare the paperwork to indict a few other people with badges today. Sadly, it seems that has not happened. We will wait a couple of weeks to see if that investigation results in any warrants being issued by SLED before we expose what we know about the situation. Trust us, it will make you angry all over again, even though you folks in Berkeley County have come to expect that sort of behavior from your elected officials and their minions.
The first issue we would like to clear up is the contention of those folks who have been decrying the fact that DeWitt was not charged with reckless driving, running a red light, speeding, or any of the other litany of traffic offenses he committed while fleeing the accident scene and later running from a pursuing Hanahan police officer. Those charges are all lesser included offenses and are covered by the failure to stop charge. All of those traffic offenses DeWitt committed while fleeing the pursuing officer will be used as elements of the crime of failure to stop for blue lights.
The next issue has to do with all the folks who can’t understand why DeWitt was not “fired” after his arrest. You can tell they don’t spend a lot of time teaching civics or American government in high schools anymore. DeWitt was an elected official, thus, the only person who could remove him from office is the Governor, and only after DeWitt was indicted or brought up on charges of misconduct or malfeasance with a hearing before the state legislature who could then vote to remove him.
The only folks who could have actually fired DeWitt chose to vote for him in the last election and set him up to embarrass them. We keep telling you elections have consequences. One of those consequences can be getting stuck with a morally bankrupt and/or downright criminal politician remaining in office even after his bad acts are exposed. You folks in Berkeley County might want to think about that before you pull the lever in the upcoming special election for anyone even remotely associated with this guy. Strange how they are all crawling out of the woodwork now, huh? And five of the six have prior family ties to BCSO or are former employees of DeWitt. Be sure to ask them about that when you see them.
For those of you who believe DeWitt should not be allowed to file for his police retirement now that he has been charged and resigned, well, we have a little surprise for you. DeWitt, just like most of his command staff, has been retired for quite some time. He has been collecting a retirement check as well as his sheriff’s salary for years now. The upper echelon of BCSO harbors quite a few of those folks some people would call “double dippers”.
We should tell you that term “double dipper” is a bit of a misnomer. We learned earlier today that a retired public servant (police, fire, etc.) who returns to work in the public service field still pay into that retirement system out of their earnings. Unfortunately for them, they will never see a dime of that money as the state of South Carolina does not count it as a contribution toward their retirement account. In other words, a retiree who returns to public service employment actually loses several hundred dollars a month to the state retirement system and will never see that money again.
What you folks should be upset about is the lack of action from your Governor with regard to BCSO. The Berkeley County Republican Party told folks on their Facebook page this past Sunday that an interim sheriff had been appointed by the Governor. They were wrong. As of the time this article was written the Governor has failed to step in as promised and begin the clean-up of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.
Not that it would really matter. We don’t know the fellow those legislators recommended as interim sheriff, but we do know enough about some of those legislators to know they are balls deep in dirty Berkeley County politics and are tied into the DeWitt crowd. That makes us question their eagerness to have their guy appointed.
Those of you wondering about DeWitt’s low bond (or rather lack of a bond) on the initial charges of DUI and Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Personal Injury need to keep a couple of things in mind. First, the bond hearing was done by DeWitt’s buddy, Judge James Polk. The Judge’s sole motivation in that bond hearing was to provide his hungover friend with a defense he thought would facilitate the dismissal of all charges. Despite a ton of research we have not been able find any other defendant who appeared before Judge Polk and was provided with a possible defense for his or her charges.
Unfortunately for that conspiratorial pair the folks here at CTL believe in research and applying common sense. We immediately shot down the “coroner” defense Polk tried to provide for DeWitt. If it weren’t for us exposing that fallacy the regular “news” folks would have continued to pitch Judge Polk’s defense for DeWitt and the charges would most likely have eventually disappeared.
The second thing you need to be aware of as it pertains to DeWitt’s bond is that a personal recognizance bond on those charges is not unusual for first time offenders. Heck, in the 9th Circuit that bond isn’t unusual for most 2nd or 3rd time offenders. You should not be surprised by that. Bro, do you even read this site?
For those of you who want DeWitt to go to jail, you should not get your hopes up. Very few people actually do go to jail for first time offenses like these. In fact, failure to stop for blue light charges are dismissed almost as frequently as gun charges. The DUI charge will most likely be thrown out thanks to our convoluted DUI law written by legislators who were DUI lawyers and thanks to the convoluted and ridiculous precedence set by judges who were also former DUI lawyers. And how do those DUI lawyers in the legislature make their money when they are not legislating? Yep.
As you watch the progression of the DUI case against DeWitt keep in mind that South Carolina law bars pleading a DUI charge down to a “wet reckless” charge. That doesn’t stop judges from doing just that on a regular basis, though. Or wait, some other lawyers we talked to say DUI can be plead out to a reckless driving charge. Go figure. Even the lawyers can’t decipher the law.
As you folks know, we hit Scarlett Wilson pretty hard at times, and for good reason. However, those of you claiming cronyism or favoritism by her in this case have not been paying attention. Grand juries meet on a schedule. They are not usually cobbled together for one case. It took longer than a month to get these indictments because Wilson had to wait until the grand jury was scheduled to meet. Through the course of our research while writing all of our stories about BCSO we have repeatedly been told one thing. Scarlett Wilson and Wayne DeWitt are definitely not snuggle buddies. We are told they despise one another.
Of course, there are other issues pending. We will withhold our final opinion on this particular issue until we determine whether charges are forthcoming from the SLED investigation into Hanahan PD regarding the mishandled failure to stop for blue light charge. As stated above, we will wait a couple of weeks to see what develops on this before letting our readers know the details.
In the meantime we are being told that a member of county council is harassing the folks who started the protests aimed at removing DeWitt from office. Life in Berkeley County. As one DeWitt supporter told everyone who was concerned about the corruption out there, “If you don’t like it, move to another county.”