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Week 19, 2021

Week of June 7, 2021 through June 11, 2021

Advance Sheet No. 19: June 9, 2021

S.C. Supreme Court Published Decisions

Powell v. Keel, Op. No. 28033

Chief Justice Beatty: June 9, 2021

The South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court ruling that a lifetime mandated registration as a sex offender under the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry ACT (SORA), absent any opportunity for judicial review to assess the risk of reoffending, violated the Eighth Amendment, and ordered the Plaintiff be removed from the sex offender registry. However, the Court also held that SORA permits dissemination of the State’s sex offender registry information on the internet, reversing in part the circuit court ruling. The Court reasoned the disputed SORA provision was arbitrary because its over-inclusiveness diluted its utility; furthermore, the Court reasoned because the SORA provision did not provide a mechanism to evaluate a registrant’s individual risk of recidivism, it was not rationally related to the legislature’s stated purpose of protecting the public from those with a high risk of reoffending. Finally, after reviewing the legislative history, the Court resolved the ambiguity of the term “transmission” in SORA subsection (E) by finding the General Assembly intended to broaden electronic dissemination of registry information to the public, thus allowing for dissemination of registry information on the internet. 

Matter of Sarvis
June 3, 2021

The South Carolina Supreme Court granted the Office of Disciplinary Counsel’s request to transfer Respondent to incapacity inactive status pursuant to Rule 28, RLDE, Rules 413, SCACR. Respondent consented to requested relief.   

Nikesh Amin