Solicitor’s Protection Act Renewed
Every time we call out Paul Thurmond for something we get angry notes from police officers who claim he has done so much for the profession. Well, if you are a single issue voter and willing to overlook what he’s doing to hurt you in exchange for what you say he’s done to help you, then you are part of the problem. You know all those people who voted for Obama just because he has dark skin? Yep, you’re just like them.
Last year we reported on the legislation we came to refer to as the Solicitors Protection Act. It is actually a combination of legislation proposed by Republican lawyer Paul Thurmond. We have also referred to it as the Criminal Protection Act and the Lawyer Funding and Protection Act.
The basic goal of the legislation Thurmond keeps trying to pass is two-fold. First, he wants to keep the public (you) from being able to discover what a horrible job your elected prosecutor might be doing by requiring the immediate concealment and expungement of all charges dismissed by a prosecutor. The only information available to the public (read: the voter) would be convictions, in effect, giving every prosecutor a 100 percent conviction rate when you tried to access charges and data on the public clerk of court sites. The impetus for this portion of the legislation is Thurmond’s prior employment with his friend, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson. Thurmond came up with the bright idea for this legislation after this site started pointing out the many failures of the 9th Circuit Solicitor which contributes directly to the crime problem here in the Lowcountry. We all know lawyers and politicians look out for one another and this is a prime example.
If it was up to folks like Thurmond you people would not even be able to type in a name and search for criminal offenses. It really is none of your business, after all. Right? The only people who need to know what is going on in the criminal justice system are those who work in it. In Thurmond’s zeal to protect his friends from a public evaluation of their performance he will ultimately prevent you from having access to public information which could protect your family.
What if your kid came home from school excited about his or her new friend and wanted to spend the night at that friend’s home? What if the father of that new friend was a guy like the now deceased Glendell Gladden? For the time being, you can punch his name into a website and find out he’s had three murder charges (and participation in a 4th) dismissed by the 9th Circuit Solicitor. Would you let your kid spend the night with that new friend?
Thurmond doesn’t want you to have that information. He doesn’t care about your rights as a taxpayer to have access to public information to keep track of what your elected prosecutor is doing or your desire to do a little investigating while protecting your family. He only cares about protecting his people. The rest of you can go to hell.
You know who else can go to hell on that issue? All those police officers who tell us they use the clerk of court sites in their county to find out just who they are dealing with out there on the street. You see, most officers don’t have NCIC in their cars, and even if they did there are strict rules about how and when it can be used to view someone’s criminal history. Thurmond’s bills would also hide that information from officers on the street who use every available resource in the course of their work. Do you know how many officers who don’t have computers in their car use their smartphones to access inmate databases to compare mugshots to the person with no ID in order to verify that person is telling the truth? A lot.
Thurmond spends a lot of time coming up with legislation to make criminal charges disappear in S 236. We suppose he’s hoping everyone will concentrate instead on the harsher penalties proposed in the same bill for failure to stop for blue lights and commend him for being a law and order Republican. Oh, and don’t pay any attention to all those ways for criminals to have their DNA removed from the state’s DNA database.
The second aspect of Thurmond’s legislation has to do with mugshots (S 255). He was hoping to fast-track this bill this year before anyone noticed. Once again he is trying to call you and your Facebook or Twitter feeds a “business” if you post the mugshot of the guy who stole your car, raped your daughter, killed your spouse while driving under the influence or broke into your house and stole your possessions. We can’t help but wonder if your municipality, county and state will then come after you with charges and fines for not having a business license. You know they will…..it’s all about the money. Your money.
Of course, Thurmond is a lawyer, first and foremost, and is using his current position as a legislator to facilitate his continued cash flow when he leaves office. Looking out for number one, as it were. In his desire to look out for himself and his fellow legal beagles he makes you and your social media feeds a business so the state can make money by fining and imprisoning you for posting that mugshot and he can make a few bucks for his law office by suing you in civil court.
The last time Thurmond tried to push this through we were the first to notice and write about it. The regular “news” folks didn’t bother with it too much. That has now changed. The folks over at the P & C are up in arms over some wording in this new version of the bill.
What? A politician who wants to subvert the 1st Amendment and tell the press and blog writers and private citizens what to write, what to do with what they write and when to do it? That is usually the bailiwick of those liberal progressives, but here we have Paul Thurmond, supposedly a conservative law and order Republican, trying to regulate what people can write about. The Constitution apparently goes right out the window when politicians like Thurmond see a way to line their own pockets.
The folks in the press are concerned about that requirement and they want a special exemption in the law just for them. Thurmond tells them other states have passed similar laws (he initially copied his from Georgia) and there have been no constitutional issues. The regular “news” media doesn’t really care about that. They just want to be granted special dispensation so they can go back to being the sole arbiters of what crime related news is published. They don’t like competition from sites like CTL who give you more detailed crime news for free.
The P & C even gives the impression they would like to see inmate databases like the one at the SACDC disappear. That way, only THEY would have access to mugshots, just like the old days. Those liberals on Columbus Street are all twisted up over this. They don’t mind criminals being able to hide from the public, but they shouldn’t be able to hide from the media. They don’t mind laws that limit freedom of speech and access to public records for you, and us and other non-conventional media, but want a special exemption built in to guarantee their own. It would be fun watching them writhe about in their confusion if the matter wasn’t so serious.
You folks might remember just a few short weeks ago when Thurmond defended the sad state of the DUI laws in South Carolina. Yeah, he gets paid thousands for making those charges go away. Why would he want to tighten things up and do away with all the loopholes? That might cut into his cash flow.
And don’t forget about how your elected representatives and the judges they put on the bench want to throw you in jail and sue you for filing complaints on them. Are you folks taking note of how quickly your elected representatives turn against you once they get what they want? You should be.