The daughter of the chief deputy solicitor in South Carolina’s fifth judicial circuit – which includes Richland and Kershaw counties – was arrested earlier this week and charged with attempted murder and other crimes in connection with a Thanksgiving Day shooting.
According to a Facebook post from the South Congaree, S.C. police department, 18-year-old Lela Sampson – daughter of chief deputy solicitor April Sampson – was arrested following the November 24 shooting, which took place on Ramblin Road.
“This was an isolated incident where the victims knew the suspects,” the Facebook post noted. “These suspects fired several rounds into the victim’s residence … after an argument on the phone.”
(Click to view)
Sampson (above) has been charged with attempted murder, first degree assault and discharging a firearm into a dwelling. Her co-defendant in this case, 18-year-old Jakqui Prawl-Stewart, is facing similar charges.
As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Sampson and Stewart are considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as they may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges that may be filed against them.
This news outlet is in the process of verifying precise bond information, but as of Thursday morning Prawl-Stewart remained incarcerated at the Lexington County detention center following his arrest on Monday (December 12, 2022). Sampson was released from custody after posting an unknown bond.
Is that special treatment? Evidence of preference shown to her due to her mother’s position of influence?
Maybe. The circumstances of Sampson’s arrest and release remain unclear. In the larger sense, though, it’s more of the same …
Should we trust South Carolina’s justice system to hold either Sampson or Prawl-Stewart accountable in the event they are found guilty in this case? Doubtful … but again, that injustice will likely have less to do with one defendant’s connections and more to do with the fact both defendants are operating within a system that exists to protect them, not the people they terrorized.
As this news outlet has meticulously documented over the years, Palmetto State leaders have a curious conception of “justice.” Their failed system – which consists of lawyer-legislators appointing judges who turn around and do their bidding – is materially eroding victims’ rights, public safety as well as public faith in the conception of justice in South Carolina.
With increasingly bloody consequences …
What should be done?
Sentencing reform is one of the judicial fixes this news outlet has consistently championed – along with bond reform and docket reform. The most important reform of all, though? Judicial selection reform.
Changing the way judges are chosen so that lawyer-legislators have absolutely no input in the process is absolutely vital to restoring balance to the state’s system of “justice” – which currently reaches resolutions based on politics and influence, not truth.
Thankfully, growing numbers of law enforcement leaders and prosecutors are sounding the alarm about the need for such reforms … although it remains to be seen whether tone deaf lawmakers will finally start listening to them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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