Yesterday, this news outlet reported on a controversial – and prima facie unconstitutional – order issued by retiring South Carolina circuit court judge Casey Manning which prematurely released a convicted murderer who had more than fifteen years remaining on his sentence.
Jeroid J. Price of New York – a Bloods street leader – shot and killed 22-year-old Carl Smalls of Charleston on December 7, 2002. He was arrested several weeks later and convicted of murder by a Richland County jury in December 2003. His 35-year prison sentence – handed down by former S.C. circuit court judge Reggie Lloyd – meant Price was supposed to remain behind bars until early 2038, consistent with South Carolina’s mandatory minimum law for murder convictions.
Per the terms of a sealed motion, though, Manning released Price from a correctional facility in New Mexico where he was being housed as part of an “interstate cooperation compact” with the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC).
Manning’s decision to release Price was in violation of both the state’s mandatory minimum law – S.C. Code § 16-3-20 (A) – and the victims’ bill of rights provision of the S.C. Constitution (Article I, Section 24).
To read our coverage of this latest example of the Palmetto State’s ‘Injustice’ system, click here.
S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson wants to know why the state turned Price loose early.
“This afternoon we officially filed a motion to unseal all records relating to the Jeroid Price case,” Wilson said in a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon. “Our office has already been in touch with the victim’s family and spoke with them yesterday.”
According to the motion, Wilson is asking the administrative judge for the court of general sessions in Richland County (which would be either Alison Lee or Robert Hood) to unseal “all sealed records” related to Price’s case.
Wilson’s order noted that Manning released Price “well before the 30-year minimum would have expired” on his sentence. His order also noted Smalls’ family members “were not notified of any hearing that would have affected the sentence in the murder case.”
The order was signed on behalf of Wilson by Heather Weiss, an assistant attorney general who previously served as interim solicitor for the fifth judicial circuit.
“The attorney general’s office is unable to assess potential statutory and constitutional violations related to this release without the ability to review all of the documents under seal,” the motion continued.
Several state lawmakers have also indicated a desire to see a criminal inquiry initiated into whether or not any laws were broken or constitutional provisions violated in connection with Price’s early release.
THE MOTION …
(Via: S.C. Attorney General)
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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