Wednesday, June 20, 2007
From thestate.com: A judge broke South Carolina State law by not notifying the victim’s family of a bail hearing for the man accused of driving the getaway car in last week’s killing at Columbiana Centre, a victims’ rights group and a USC CrimProf Kenneth Gaines said Monday.
The family of shooting victim Robert Bell was angered at being left out of Saturday’s hearing, but a Columbia Municipal Court official said the court wasn’t required to notify them.
Laura Hudson, spokeswoman for the S.C. Victim Assistance Network, said the state constitution doesn’t give the judge any choice.
“There’s no law that says you contact some victims and you don’t contact others,” she said. “Our state constitution says it’s every crime, every time.”
But USC CrimProf Kenneth Gaines said he knew of no court cases that would support the Judge's position. “I would certainly think the victims’ rights group would have a pretty strong argument,” he said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]