Richland and Kershaw counties make up the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Richland is the most violent big county in the state. Richland, Greenville, Spartenburg, Charleston, Berkely, Anderson, Horry, Lexington, and York are the counties that have over 150,000 people in them. According to SLED all have a crime rate in the 50's or below except for Horry at 66.5 and Richland at 99.4! When you ask what the big difference is between Lexington County with a crime rate at 37.4 and Richland, obviously economics plays into it. But the number one factor according to law enforcement is the revolving door in the system. Known violent offenders being released to bring more pain and suffering into our community!
Circuit Court Judge Alison Lee is infamous for this behavior! Today she is back in the State newspaper because Dequen Vereen was charged with killing a man in drugstore parking lot over the weekend. He would not of done that had he been in jail as police had arrested him in February for attempted murder and armed robbery. The solicitor Dan Johnson had argued Vereen is a dangerous person who should not be free. Judge Lee didn't agree and lowered Vereen's bond from $175,000 to a price he could pay of $50,000 and now a man is dead.
This is the second time this year Judge Lee has disagreed with the Solicitor and it ended up with a homicide. Lorenzo Young was being held on a laundry list of violent charges when Judge Lee decided to cut his bond from $240,000 to a price he could meet. That allowed Young to murder Kelly Hunnewell who was working alone in a bakery in the early hours of July 1st.
Maybe Judge Lee has just had 2 cases of bad luck? No. Edgefield county celebrated her departure in 2008 with a column in their paper entitled "Goodbye and Good Riddance to Judge Lee". It was in Edgefield that defense attorneys gave her the nickname Judge Easy Lee.
Not only did those in the jail start lining up for Judge “Easy” Lee, but a number of those who were not even scheduled to show up until the February term of court wanted to plead guilty and be home in time for supper. It was a disgraceful week, the most irresponsible and outrageous term I have every witnessed in my many years of attending criminal court.
A drug dealer with not one, but four charges of distribution including distribution of crack cocaine in the proximity of a school is guaranteed to a sentence on a plea deal of three to four years in prison when looking at the past record of sentencing sheets in our local court. Albert Davis, however, was given a suspended five-year sentence and three years of probation on Tuesday. Just in time for his 23rd birthday on Wednesday. Not to make things worse, but Mr. Davis was in court a month later for his second DUI conviction after hitting a mom in her mini van.
In an the most astonishing move Judge Lee basically took control of the docket and called a case that the Solicitor’s Office was not prepared to bring to trial during this term. The Assistant Solicitor told Judge Lee he was not calling to the case to be told, “Yes you are,” by Judge Lee. I’ve never seen a case called by a sitting judge; the Solicitor has control of the docket, not the judge.
On behalf of those who care about our county and fully support our local law enforcement, assistant solicitors, and the hard work they put in to trying to rid us of the vermin that preys upon our innocent children and citizens - good riddance Judge Renee Alison Lee.
For her efforts Richland County is more dangerous and President Obama wants to reward her with a Federal Judgeship. In his announcment he said; "(Judge Lee) has demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindeness American's expect and deserve from their judicial system". Fair to whom? Expertise in what? What special talent is he alluding to? Jim Clyburn is the madman who nominated her saying "I have known Judge Lee professionally since she arrived in Columbia, and know her to be a woman of deep faith, with a strong commitment to the community". With her on the bench all citizens had better deepen their faith because she is trying to get us all killed!