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Parking Wars: Alleged Criminals vs Edgefield Business Owners
A Column by the Editor
web posted July 11, 2011
COLUMN – Every three months residents and business
owners located in downtown Edgefield feel the pressures of the
antiquated processes of General Sessions Court being held at the County
Courthouse. Every person on the docket (nearly 250) is required to
appear starting Monday. With very limited parking finding a space to
park to shop or eat lunch is going to be difficult, if not nearly
impossible in the downtown area.
Local restaurants feel the greatest pinch, though specialty shops and
other businesses also suffer. With nowhere to park, those seeking a
quick bite to eat or visitors wanting to stop and shop, are left with
limited choices - park far away and walk or avoid the downtown area
altogether. That's not good for a town that is losing storefronts
faster than the Obama Administration's overreach of regulations and new
taxes is killing jobs.
My question is why does this need to take place every three months?
With hundreds facing felony charges in General Sessions Court, and at
best two or maybe three dozen having their cases adjudicated, is it
necessary for all those charged to appear for nothing more than to
businesses in downtown Edgefield when it serves no judicial purpose?
The Solicitor's Office, headed by Solicitor Donnie Myers, requires
everyone charged to show up, day in and day out, even though they know
the vast majority will do so for nothing. Their cases will not be heard
and the only thing this requirement does is cause havoc to the local
businesses because of limited parking and force many of those charged
to lose their jobs for taking two weeks off every three months for
nothing before they are proven guilty or found innocent.
Granted, the Solicitor's Office has a large hill to climb in clearing
the docket of those charged with felony crimes, but is there any real
rhyme of reason to forcing those who they know will do nothing more
than occupy a space on a bench in the Court House to appear just
Of course those who do not show up will have a bench warrant issued
for their arrest and will be taken into custody and held at the
Edgefield County Detention Center until their trial - which could be
years - increasing the cost to the county to house those arrested.
Some of those charged have crimes dating back 1, 2, 3 or even 10 years.
During the current budget crunch and the county shaving nearly a
million dollars from the county's budget over the last three years, the
last thing we need is more suspects locked up for going to work rather
than showing up for court when their cases will never be heard.
There has to be some middle ground that can be reached.
I can't blame the Solicitor's Office in total because they are doing as
they are instructed. However, it seems that they should be able to
streamline the cases that will be heard over the two week period every
three months in advance and inform those whose appearance will do
nothing to further their case.
This would alleviate the mass pilgrimage, which has been an issue at
the Edgefield Town
Council meetings on available parking recently and in the past, of
those charged with felonies
invading the sidewalks around the court house and therefore taking the
limited parking spaces to strangle local businesses owners of potential
customers while they stand around and do nothing other than allow
County Councilman Norman Dorn to peruse the crowd to sign up potential
Something needs to be done to balance the needs of local business
owners with the needs of the Solicitor's Office. I'm sure with some
forethought, this can be accomplished.
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