Charleston County's jail is up to its usual antics with the release of Andrew M. Carroll -- a known thief with nine pending felony charges against him -- for possession of crystal methamphetamine on personal recognizance bond. Magistrate John Kenney is responsible for the hasty decision.
The case of Mr. Carroll is unlike anything we have witnessed in recent memory. Out of the nine charges pending against him, four relate to motor vehicle theft and burglary, and three are tied to drug possession charges. And all were accumulated over four bookings in a two-and-a-half month time period.
The rest of his criminal record is somewhat predictable. In 2015 alone, Mr. Carroll was trotted off to jail ten times on charges that lead to convictions for stealing six vehicles, receiving stolen goods and assault on a police officer. And within the thick of it all, he spent two weeks behind bars before going to trial which would result in a three year prison stint.
Encompassing Mr. Carroll's history is a laundry list of felony offenses across two counties. As his prison sentence came to a close, it became evident that he was the same man before it began. Crime followed him like a raging illness, doing harm to everything in its wake as he would be jailed seven times more.
Mr. Carroll is confined to a rare breed of criminal; a high-level offender with a penchant to steal to no end and continue the pattern while state prosecutors build a case against him. His dismal record indicates that he is not a suitable candidate for a second chance -- and there is no place for him in our community.
This is problematic for several reasons. It shows that legal repercussions have no bearing on Mr. Carroll -- there is no fine too large, no sentence too great. He has demonstrated disregard for what binds us together, instead choosing a path fraught with depravity and greed. It is a common theme in criminal minds, and pinpoints the Charleston Court System's failure to protect us.
The specter of Mr. Carroll committing new crimes was heightened by Judge Kenney's decision to cut him loose. And what are the drawbacks from this on the community at large? There is an argument to be made that crime will increase in lockstep with the bail reform policies that have lead us to this point. If a dozen convictions and a stay in prison can't convince a judge to make the right call -- what can?
Andrew Carroll, unless the subject of a life-altering experience, will not turn his life around. But maybe -- just maybe -- holding him to account would be enough to spark a culture change in Charleston. Change would inevitably bring bail reform to an end and replace it with something practical and merit-based. We are the authors of our future -- sign our pledge and make it bright!
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