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Drug Charges Archives

Hundreds of prisoners receive commutations for drug sentences

Some South Carolina residents may have heard that Barack Obama commuted the largest number of sentences of any president in history. Of the total of 1,715 commutations, Obama issued 330 of those for drug-related crimes on the last full day of his presidency. He had struggled to reform harsh drug sentencing laws with little success, and the commutations were one aspect of that reform.

Laws regarding drug manufacturing and cultivation

There are both federal and state statutes that prohibit the manufacturing or cultivation of illegal drugs, with some restricted exceptions in a few states regarding the production of marijuana. If convicted of drug manufacturing, South Carolina residents may be subject to stiff penalties.

Drug tests returning false positive results

False positives results on tests for drugs have the potential to be a serious legal problem for any South Carolina resident. There are chemical tests that have been marketed to law enforcement agencies as accurate detectors of narcotics, but reports have demonstrated multiple instances of perfectly legal substances being accidentally identified as illicit drugs. Problems like this can be notoriously difficult to solve, and there are cases where people had to spend substantial time dealing with the criminal justice system before their innocence could be established.

Man jailed on false positive seeks damages in court

South Carolina motorists may be interested in a news story involving a false positive roadside drug test that was reported in October. A Florida man who was jailed for 10 hours on a drug possession charge in December 2015 has now filed suit against the city of Orlando and the producer of the drug test kit that the arresting officer employed at the scene.

Harm done by criminalization of drug possession

Many people have been incarcerated for the possession of minor amounts of drugs in South Carolina over the last few decades. A report prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch that was released on Oct. 12 indicates that this practice is counterproductive and leads to far too many people being unfairly prosecuted. They recommend that state legislatures decriminalize low-level drug possession and focus on positive goals such as education, harm reduction and prevention.

Mexico agrees to extradite drug lord Guzman to U.S.

South Carolina readers may be interested in learning that the Mexican government has agreed to extradite infamous drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States to face various drug trafficking charges. The U.S. has promised that he will not face the death penalty, according to a statement made by the Mexican Foreign Ministry on May 20.

No drug charges filed against Lamar Odom

South Carolina sports fans may be familiar with the high-profile story about 36-year-old Lamar Odom being found unresponsive in a Nevada brothel in October 2015. The former professional basketball player was under investigation by Nye County officials after cocaine was found in his system in connection with that episode. However, reports indicate that officials will not file charges in connection with the incident.

Federal prison population demographics

South Carolina residents are likely aware that mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses have been roundly criticized by both Republican and Democrat lawmakers. The harsh sentencing laws were introduced during the 1980s as crack cocaine became a nationwide problem, and they led to federal prison populations increasing by almost 800 percent between 1980 and 2012, according to some sources. About half of the nation's 200,000 or so federal inmates are serving sentences for drug offenses, and the Urban Institute released a report on Oct. 27 about the demographic makeup of this prison population.

Former USC football star facing drug charges

A former University of South Carolina running back was handed several criminal charges on Sept. 18. The former USC football star and a woman were taken into custody at their apartment in Lexington County. According to a statement from the Lexington County Sheriff's Department, the couple was under investigation for one month prior to the incident.

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