RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott along with state Senators Dick Harpootlian and Brian Adams discussed what can be done to fix the state’s ‘Catch and Release’ system.
They called a news conference in Richland County Wednesday afternoon. Sheriff Lott began the press conference by updating reporters on a recent incident where a deputy was injured and hospitalized.
According to Richland County deputies, K9 specialist Zach Keefe was released from the hospital Tuesday after being injured during a vehicle chase. Lott said deputies were after Eugene Ivery, who was out on bond for a murder he’s accused of committing in 2018.
Court records show Ivery was granted bond for that murder charge in December 2019 and posted bond in December 2020.
“This is yet another example of catch and release,” Sheriff Lott said.
Deputies said Ivery was arrested and is now facing additional drug charges, driving under suspension, failure to stop for blue lights and reckless driving. He posted bonded for those charges earlier this week.
Senators Harpootlian and Adams said they are urging solicitors to use the estreatment process to revoke bond for repeat violent offenders. They point to a 2017 state Supreme Court case decision that says if a defendant violates the conditions of their bond, like getting arrested again, it can be estreated.
This process could lead to the bond company being ordered to pay the full amount of the bond to the county and the defendent could remain behind bars until a trial is scheduled.
“There’s an easy solution on this that we got to get focused on. It would cut the number of cases the sheriff has to make, the solicitor has to prosecute, and it will make the community safer,” Sen. Harpootlian said. “It’s a win, win, win and win.”
According to records, about $190,000 in bond estreatments were collected in fiscal year 2021 in South Carolina.
Adams and Harpootlian said the legislature could consider other legislation to address this issue starting in January.