On June 29th Judge Clifton Newman issued an order cancelling the electronic monitoring program established by the Solicitor's office in Richland County. Under this program hundreds of defendants were given bonds that required them to submit to electronic monitoring as a condition of their pre-trial release. A copy of his order is
The monitoring program cost approximately $300 dollars per month. For defendants who didn't intend on quickly pleading guilty this could mean that their monitoring charges could be several thousands of dollars. Defendants did not receive credit for the amount paid toward any fines or court costs that they might ultimately owe. This program was controversial from its inception. The Solicitor's office contracted with a private, for-profit corporation called Offender Management Services to administer it. This company was provide with space in the Solicitor's office company was provided office space in the Richland County courthouse, and was given significant authority regarding whether or not a defendant was allowed to remain out on bond and was able to track their movements.
Although the stated purpose of the program was to service defendants with significant prior criminal records or charged with violent crimes, in reality all types of defendants were subjected to this program. In the week prior to the program being cancelled we had to assist a client with no prior record and whose only charges were white-collar obtain an order removing the monitoring requirement. The fact that this particular program was cancelled does not mean that judges cannot order monitoring in Richland County. It does mean however that they can no longer require the Offender Management Services company to administer it.
If you have been put under a requirement to have electronic monitoring as part of your bond requirements, and are interested in exploring the possibilities of having that requirement removed, you are welcome to contact our office for a free consultation.