LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said seven defendants were released following a directive from the South Carolina Supreme Court.
“While more detainees will be released in accordance with Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty’s order during the state of emergency, it’s important for community members to know each and every release will be handled on the basis of a court order,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “That’s always the case and the way the system works. We strictly abide by court orders when it comes to who gets out and when.”
According to a memo sent out by Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty, magistrates, municipal judges, and summary court staff were directed to release anyone charged with a non-capital crime as the COVID-19 response continues. These defendants, according to the memo, were to be released on their own recognizance without surety, unless there was an unreasonable danger to the community or the accused is considered an extreme flight risk.
Officials with the sheriff’s department said inmates who were jailed before the COVID-19 outbreak are also affected by the directive issued by Chief Justice Beatty.
“The judicial order also calls for pretrial detainees to be released from jail on a personal recognizance bond if the individual has already been held for the maximum possible sentence of an offense,” Koon said. “Detention commanders are communicating with judges to ensure detainees are serving the proper amount of time in accordance with the chief justice’s directives handed down earlier this week in response to COVID-19.”
These directives issued by the S.C. Judicial Branch will remain in place until further notice.