Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A. South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney | Over 25 Years Experience
Call Today | Free Consultation 803-746-4302

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.

Following an FBI search of Underwood’s office, he and two deputies were formally indicted on federal charges of police misconduct and conspiracy to cover up their crimes.

Innocent man jailed, FBI visits the sheriff

A young man, apparently within his rights, used social media to broadcast the site of a car crash and the work of county sheriff personnel.

Sheriff Underwood then confronted the man. According to the federal indictment, Underwood and two deputies used excessive force to arrest the man, leaving him in jail for 3 nights and 4 days.

They then allegedly made up a false story to justify searching his home and seizing his cell phone, eventually lying to FBI about it.

The 8-count indictment includes illegal search and seizure, excessive force, tampering with evidence, and falsifying records.

Long-term problems for South Carolina and the wrongfully arrested

Underwood became at least the 11th county sheriff to have been indicted or convicted of crimes in the last decade in South Carolina.

Some have called for a wider appraisal of the state’s law enforcement, with the Post-Courier publishing a feature that paints a dire portrait of corruption among the some of the state’s county sheriff departments.

Meanwhile, “this whole thing could have been avoided,” the exonerated man said. He may have meant, among other things, suffering physical injuries behind bars for days as an innocent man with no charges and no counsel.

The personal effects of such experiences can last a lifetime. Because of his high-profile exoneration, he might escape the mark that convictions or simply arrests can leave on a life.

These can include obstacles to employment, housing, professional licenses, gun ownership, or fair immigration status.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
 York County Bar Association South Caroline Bar NACDL South carolina association of criminal defense lawyers United states court of appeals | For the Fourth Circuit
Email Us For a Response

Tell Us About Your Case - Schedule A Free Consultation

To schedule a confidential appointment with an experienced South Carolina criminal defense attorney, please call 803-746-4302 or fill out this form:

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
142 Oakland Avenue, Suite C
Rock Hill, SC 29730

Toll Free: 866-635-6765
Phone: 803-746-4302
Fax: 803-980-0952
Rock Hill Office Location