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Rock Hill, South Carolina Criminal Defense Blog

Why eyewitness testimony is so often flawed

There are few things in trials that match the power of eyewitness testimony. Witnesses can place criminals at the scene of a crime. Their words, voices and gestures can add emotion to the jury's understanding of the events. And they can send people to jail for crimes they never committed.

That was the case in the conviction of the 81-year-old man who was recently released from prison. According to the Carolina Public Press, the man served 43 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, all because witnesses placed him at the scene of the crime and named him as the shooter.

How drinking affects your driving

A swerve that leads to a DUI, going the wrong-way on a one-way road that leads to a head-on crash, running a red light and t-boning another car or driving your vehicle through a building. These are some of the worst-case scenarios that can happen when you drink and drive without mentioning the injuries or fatalities that could occur due to these accidents. Drinking undoubtedly impairs your ability to drive.

Impaired driving is a big problem. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10,497 people died due to alcohol-impaired driving in 2016. When it comes to children killed in traffic crashes, an alcohol-impaired driver was part of 17% of those crashes.

FBI: Car dealership defrauded banks to boost sales, reap profits

Last week, the FBI raided a Charleston car dealership in search of evidence for allegedly defrauding lenders by submitting fabricated loan papers in order to facilitate the business to sell more cars and bring in additional earnings to its employees.

According to court documents, the FBI agents raided the premises of the dealership on Savannah Highway in West Ashley and took into custody the desktop computers, records and loan applications. They seized more than 50 boxes of paperwork involving vehicle sale deals in last five years. Over that period, according to the documents submitted by FBI, an estimated 50 to 60 cars per month were sold by the dealership out of which as many as 30 sales were forged and allegedly involved in the fraudulent schemes in some way.

Man arrested with drug charges following traffic stop

Drug abuse violations are not unusual in the United States. Every year, law enforcing authorities arrests a number of people in connection with drug crimes in different parts of the country. The data published on FBI site shows that there were 1,632,921 drug arrests in the country in 2017. It shows every 20 seconds a person is arrested for drug offenses. The number is highest among the arrests made for different crimes. South Carolina is no different.

In a recent case, Iredell County Sheriff's officers arrested a 26-year-old man from Summerville, South Carolina with felony drug offenses. According to reports, the man was pulled over by officers for a traffic violation on Interstate 77 Northbound at Mile Marker 63. During the traffic stop, a K-9 on duty was allowed to carry out a free air sniff of the vehicle and signaled the existence and odor of narcotics in the vehicle.

South Carolina man vindicated, county sheriff indicted

Like many in northern South Carolina, maybe you noticed on May 9 when charges were dropped against a Chester County man. “Vindicated,” announced a local headline.

Dropped charges are not unheard of, at least for clients represented by experienced defense attorneys. What really caught our attention are the allegations against the arresting officers, including the now-former county sheriff, Alex Underwood.

South Carolina man faces drug charges

Both federal and state laws make the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and possession of certain drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, a crime. Based on the facts at hand, a person who is found guilty on drug charges may have to face severe consequences. A convicted individual may have to face prison time, property forfeiture, mandatory participation in addiction treatment program, damage to his or her reputation, and a criminal record that can affect their life for years or decades to come.

A recent case may show just how problematic drug crime allegations can be. There, a 20-year-man from South Carolina was charged with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, as well as and trying to evade arrest by fleeing with a motor vehicle. He was also charged in connection to interference with an officer performing a duty and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Are tax mistakes considered tax evasion?

Every so often, we read a news story about a famous or powerful person facing charges of tax evasion. Often, these stories will include a quote from a representative for the defendant who says that their client did not intend to evade taxes, but merely made a mistake.

Does this distinction matter? Can a person successfully defend against tax evasion charges on the basis of mistake? Generally speaking, the answer is yes.

FBI arrests former Rock Hill player for alleged drug distribution

South Carolinians might be well aware of the harsh consequences that may ensue from drug-related criminal charges. After all, those who are facing or anticipating drug possession or other criminal charges related to heroin, cocaine, and marijuana can be in huge trouble, as may be the case for one man after his recent arrest.

A Rock Hill man, who is a former professional football player, was recently arrested by the FBI on drug distribution charges. Reportedly, the 34-year-old man was taken into custody in Rock Hill by federal agents and charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute. He was also charged with possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of a mixture containing heroin. However, the former player denied the accusations against him in a federal court hearing last week. According to court records, he has previous South Carolina convictions for weapons charges, drug possession, resisting arrest, DUI, and failure to have a required ignition lock system in a vehicle.

Wrongfully convicted man is free after 38 years in prison

People tend to believe the criminal justice system is a reliable way to punish criminals and keep society safe. Unfortunately, it does not always work out in this ideal manner. Sometimes, people go to prison for crimes they did not commit.

Take Fred Clay, for example. After spending 38 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, he is now free and receives a settlement from the government.

Two dozen charged in billion dollar Medicare scam

Federal officials broke up a billion-dollar nationwide kickback conspiracy that lured and sold medically unnecessary braces to hundreds of thousands of seniors. More than 80 search warrants in 17 federal districts have been served and charges were being brought against two dozen defendants in different states including South Carolina. According to U.S. Attorney for South Carolina, the investigation is one of the largest Medicare fraud investigations in the history of the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS.

According to law enforcement agencies, the scheme involved selling cheap, Chinese-made arm, leg, back and neck braces to thousands of elderly and disabled Medicare patients, who paid for them with Medicare. The conspiracy used telemarketing and online advertisements to reach out to seniors offering "free" orthopedic braces and recommend Medicare-eligible people to contact overseas call centers. The call centers after verification of Medicare coverage, linked them up with telemedicine companies and doctors for consultations, who wrote prescriptions for orthopedic braces, regardless of whether the patients needed them or not. Then, the call centers would gather prescriptions and sell them to medical equipment companies, which would dispatch the braces to patients and bill Medicare.

 York County Bar Association South Caroline Bar NACDL South carolina association of criminal defense lawyers United states court of appeals | For the Fourth Circuit
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Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
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Rock Hill, SC 29730

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