Domestic violence dispositions
On June 4, 2015, South Carolina’s governor signed into law the Domestic Violence Reform Act, mandating that domestic violence cases be heard in General Sessions Court. From June 4, 2015, through June 30, 2021, members of the Beaufort Police Department have made 170 domestic violence charges. As of Sept. 22, 2021, 122 of those cases have been adjudicated, leaving 48 awaiting trial.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, making it an ideal time to release prosecution statistics, according to Beaufort Police Chief Dale McDorman.
Domestic violence calls are historically one of the most dangerous calls a law enforcement officer responds to. “We accept that risk as we are in the field of work to enforce laws and protect the citizens we serve,” McDorman said.
“As I stated when we published weapons law arrest dispositions in July of this year, we cannot arrest our way out of the violence we see today. However, as in all crime, when an arrest is made there must be consequences,” he added.
“I am troubled by the lack of prosecution of domestic violence cases the Beaufort Police Department has brought forward over the last several years. A review of the statistics indicated that eight people have been charged with domestic violence at least twice during this time, and all but one saw their first charge dismissed.
“As we enter Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I am calling for stronger prosecution of those people charged with Domestic Violence and all crime. Unpunished crime only breeds more crime and diminishes the quality of life in our community.”
“The members of the Beaufort Police Department again ask that the public hold us to the highest standards, and we encourage you to hold the entire criminal justice system to the same standards,” McDorman said.
Since June 4, 2015:
(Public Index and Beaufort Police Department records)
122 domestic violence cases adjudicated:
- 74 cases dismissed or nolle prosequi (not prosecuted) – 60.66%
24 pled guilty to original charge – 19.67%
21 pled guilty to lesser charge – 17.21%
3 diverted to pre-trial programs (PTI, Drug Court, etc) -- 2.46%
One domestic violence case was taken to trial and found guilty of a lesser charge.