Many of the murder cases we prosecute are domestic murders in which the level of abuse escalates over time. It is our mission to prevent this progression of violence by intervening beginning with the first domestic violence arrest.
In 2006, we lobbied for a new law that allows our office to prosecute domestic violence cases in General Sessions Court rather than in Magistrate's Court. This law allows the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor's Office to prosecute domestic batterers in the same courtrooms as murderers, rapists and armed robbers. Up until recently, the Fourteenth Circuit was the only judicial circuit to do so.
Gov. Nikki Haley signed the Domestic Violence Reform Act on May 4, 2015. The new law enhances penalties for repeat offenders, enhances penalties toward those who commit domestic violence in front of children and bolsters penalties based on the severity of abuse.
Solicitor Duffie Stone was invited to attend the bill’s signing as a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Domestic Violence.
Penalties for the most severe crimes were increased from 10 years to 20 years. Penalties for the lower offenses increased from 30 days to 90 days.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, we encourage you seek help. There are two area organizations dedicated to helping victims of intimate partner abuse. Please report all incidents of domestic abuse to your local law enforcement agency.
Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse is a private, non-profit organization that serves victims of intimate partner abuse throughout Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton Counties. CODA operates a 24-hour crisis line and provides safe shelter, transitional housing assistance, case management, individual and group counseling for adults and children, court advocacy, assistance petitioning for protective orders and legal representation to qualified victims. CODA can be reached by calling 843-770-1070 or 800-868-2632.
The Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons is a private, non-profit agency that provides many of the same services as CODA to victims of domestic abuse in Allendale County. They can be reached at 803-649-0480.