Over the years, our media outlet has advocated passionately for the reform of South Carolina’s notoriously unfair “justice” system. For those of you unfamiliar with this ongoing institutional racket, the Palmetto State is one of only two states in America in which powerful lawyer-legislators picks judges. As we have seen in far too many cases, the politicians picking the judges turn around and reap the rewards of this influence by receiving preferential treatment on behalf of their clients.
As this news outlet has consistently noted, the current system has enabled institutional corruption, shredded the rights of victims, empowered violent criminals and materially eroded public safety. It has also turned the judiciary into little more than a political annex of the legislature … a problem with is getting worse, not better.
It’s one thing to talk about this problem, though. To cover it – as we do – from a media perspective. It’s something else entirely to have lived it. To have had such a debilitating and dehumanizing experience pushed on you against your will – not only during your immediate victimization but then afterward, when you find yourself re-victimized by the very courts that were established to protect you.
Recently, I sat down with Molly Vick – a survivor of South Carolina’s “justice” system.
(Click to view)
We actually knew about Molly’s case before we ever met her – having covered it extensively at the time it was “resolved” by the court system in September 2022. It was her case that actually helped light the fuse on the judicial reform movement – sparking outrage over the way she and several other female victims were treated but also outrage over how the powerful politicians overseeing the system responded to the injustice they endured.
“It’s just extremely dehumanizing to be treated the way that I was treated by him,” Vick told me. “But standing up for myself when I’ve never been so scared in my life … and I still tried to advocate for myself? I pleaded with them. I said, somebody else is gonna get really, really hurt – or worse. Please listen to me, please do something – this is not okay.”
Vick said she pressed on despite the institutional resistance she encountered not just for her own protection but because “this is our community – it’s women in general, it’s people in general.”
When embattled S.C. circuit court judge Bentley Price at long last imposed his sentence against serial abuser Casey Lee Combs, Vick felt for a fleeting moment as though justice had been done.
“We were in court and the judge, Bentley Price, looked at (Combs) and said ‘I’m gonna give you the full fourteen-year sentence,'” Vick recalled. “And there was just overwhelming emotion. Like, oh, wow … Thank God, right? Like, wait … did we hear that? Right. Thank God. And one of the other victims was visibly emotional and I got emotional because, I mean, that’s a lot of energy, right?”
But then came the gut punch … a blow far worse than any Combs had ever dealt her.
“He looked over and he said ‘suspended to a five-year probation sentence,'” Vick recalled.
Vick said the shock of the sentence – the realization her abuser would be walking free – forced her to spend “a few months keeping to myself a lot,” referring to the injustice she experienced as “an initial, absolute shock to my mental health.”
To be clear: It wasn’t just her and her fellow victims who had pushed for Combs to spend extensive time behind bars. The office of S.C. ninth circuit solicitor Scarlett Wilson also recommended a lengthy stint for him in the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC).
Price ignored them all … part of an ongoing pattern he has shown of accommodating criminals at the expense of their victims and the expense of public safety.
As I have previously noted, Price – who is up for reelection in 2024 – is “the poster judge for the Palmetto State’s broken judicial system.”
We have written on numerous occasions in the past about his justice-defying shenanigans – yet he continues to wreak havoc with his rulings.
Vick rallied, though. And not only did she rally to the point of being ready, able and willing to share her story with us, she rallied to the point of launching a brand new no-holds-barred form of advocacy aimed at fixing the broken system that re-victimized her – and so many others like her.
“Me being here right now is a testament to my commitment to making something change,” Vick said.
To watch our full interview with Molly, click here …
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 (soon to be eight) children.
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