I was asked the other day if this blog ever got political and my answer was no that I’d leave the Op Ed pieces to writers who have security cameras at their homes and don’t mind looking over their shoulders as they walk down Meeting Street.
Just after the 2006 school year started, Sean Shevlino age 16 and Michael Anthony age 17 went on a three week crime spree that culminated in robbing a Food Lion grocery store and then a Subway Sandwich Shop with a BB gun. Shevlino wore a ski mask and used a BB gun while Anthony stood as look out during each robbery. Both were later arrested, charged with “armed robbery” and received the “minimum” sentence of 10 years, because of the charges brought against them and because they were tried in adult court.
While the action of both juveniles is undeniably wrong, the sentencing of Sean Shevlino and Michael Anthony in adult court is shockingly absurd. Sending two first time offending juveniles to the Lieber Correctional Institution is simply insane and serves neither the State nor the offender’s justice.
According to the Post and Courier, Charleston prosecutor Scarlet Wilson denies allegations that politics played any role in how the case was handled despite that fact that she is running for her office in the June primary. Wilson blames Solicitor Ralph Hoisington for the plea offer that had been set in motion months ago when he was still alive. Wilson also points out that the Mount Pleasant Police Department endorsed the offer.
Shevlino’s attorney, Frank Cornely, has blamed state lawmakers, who have enacted hard-line mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes.
Now that Wilson, Cornely and the Judge in this case have effectively washed their hands, it is doubtful that either of these two boys will return to society in 10 years (8 ½ if they get parole) to become productive members of our community and outstanding citizens.
It’s interesting to note that Ms. Wilson also denied that politics had anything to do with her firing of deputy solicitor Blair Jennings back in September despite the fact that it was widely known that he would challenge her for the office in March of 2008. Post and Courier Coverage: “Berkeley’s Top Prosecutor Jennings Is Ousted”.
Scarlett Wilson was Appointed by Governor Sanford when the governor’s first choice withdrew from the process.
Meanwhile Wilson’s press secretary, Frank O. Hunt was discovered by the Post and Courier to be the online poster using the name “Afternoondelight” who made no secret of his disdain for criminals (”In one post, “afternoondelight” weighed in on the hunt for suspects in a North Charleston killing: “Let’s just hope that when they are confronted by police they pull their weapons and have to be shot dead”) or his favoritism for his boss, Scarlett Wilson, who faces a June primary fight against former Deputy Solicitor Blair Jennings.
Wilson stated she was unaware her press secretary was using his office computer to post the rants and raves though she didn’t see anything wrong with someone voicing their opinion. Post and Courier Coverage: “Online Comments No Delight”
South Carolina can do better than this!
Pete on January 16th, 2008
There is little doubt that the arbitrary decision by Scarlett Wilson to avoid the family court system was politically motivated. Research by groups that study adolescent development and juvenile justice, such as the MacArthur Foundation have found that the decision to move children to adult court is almost always politically motivated, except in case of murder.
Sean’s and Mike’s punishment should have come from a Family Court Judge. Instead, Sean is the youngest person at Kirkland Correctional Institution. What Sean did as a child was morally and legally wrong, but what is Wilson’s excuse?
Scarlett Wilson cannot provide reasons that caused her to make this immoral decision (except to blame Mr. Hoisington). She was provided with expert evidence to indicate that Sean was not violent and not a threat to anyone and that the chance of repeating was practically zero.
She refused to listen to any mitigating factors because she had an “easy conviction”. Her answer (on TV) to why rapists get less time in prison, was simply, because she could easily convict him, and she did. It is a sad day for juveniles.
Mike tried to rape his stepmother twice. He sexually molested two pre-schoolers.
Sean showed many signs of being an amoral and disturbed young man.
He held a gun in the face of a young man who was trying to work for his money.
These two thugs are getting just what they deserve.
If they had held out for a jury trial, they could have gotten much worse. The public is tired of young criminals getting away with the adult crimes they commit.
The chance of repreated crimes was 100%, if they had not been caught. They were already repeat offenders.
The parents are blind to the moral vacuum inside of their son.
I was told that Blair Jennings got fired b/c he spoke about a murder case with the press trying to win an arguement with Andy Savage. It was over the woman with the two children found under the sink case. Blair should have let Savage play the "pity" card and kept his mouth shut until the trial.
The truth of the matter is that juveniles do not have the same capacity to understand their actions as adults do. The brain isn't fully developed until a person's mid twenties. A sixteen year old is not an adult and should not be tried as such. And the hell that Sean and Mike are no doubt going through is nothing short of barbaric, I can tell you from experience.
In December of 2005, while I was seventeen years old (by South Carolina and federal law, that qualifies as a minor), I was arrested and charged with a felony. I was charged in adult court, not family court.
I spent just a few days in the Lexington County jail and it was NOT the nice place that Law and Order makes it look like. There are no beds or cots, only slabs of metal that stick out from the wall--the cells are overcrowded (a two man cell can often hold as many as four inmates) and as as a result, since I was the youngest one in my cell, I had to sleep on the floor without even a blanket to keep me warm.
The worst part is the rape and sexual assault that takes place on a regular basis in South Carolina jails and prisons. I heard stories from my cellmates about people being raped, very graphic and violent stories. And to top it off, I was sexually assaulted by another inmate during our recreation period (the only time we could leave our cells) IN FRONT OF CORRECTIONS OFFICERS, WHO DID NOTHING TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING.
I was lucky. I spent only a few days in jail before my family got the money together to bail me out. The charges ended up being dropped because the laws were changed, making the 'crime' I had committed perfectly legal. But I can guarantee you that these two are going through far worse than what I experienced, because they're not just there for a few days and they're not in a county jail--South Carolina has some of the worst prisons in the country.
I know several corrections officers and they'll gladly tell anyone that our prisons are not where minors need to be. I can understand murderers being put in prison--that makes sense. But these kids didn't even hurt anyone as far as I know. Pointing a BB gun at someone is hardly worthy of being incarcerated for at least ten years surrounded by vicious murderers and rapists.
if Sean and his young cohorts were black, and had committed this crime, they'd have got a life sentence, no doubt.
and i've little doubt that the family of this kid would have nodded their heads in approval, at least until it happened to them.
whether the kid robbed with a pistol or a pellet gun is irrelevant - he took money under the pretense of being armed.
he's just lucky he's got the complexion for the connexion because there's about a million black folks who have done time for less.
maybe he can donate a kidney to for barbara bush's breakfast croissant
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