Domestic violence in Kershaw County has always been a questionable issue for victims. Many times these victims are placed in what many have called a kangaroo court, known as Family Court or it’s actual name Domestic Relations Court.
A victims of domestic abuse who sought help 3 years ago from Law Enforcement and the Courts, found out that getting actual help for herself and her children would be a fight.
Sistercare of the Midlands had filed for an Order of Protection from the abusive husband for the victim, but the Sistercare Advocate was not allowed in the court house under alleged Covid restrictions that were in place. These guidelines stated that only needed persons would be allowed to enter, to cut back on the risk of Covid being spread.
This left the victim alone to face her abuser and his attorney, who is also a Magistrate in the same court house. Prior to the hearing taking place that morning the husband’s attorney, in company of the Kershaw County DSS attorney Kimberly Simmons, stated to the victim that if she did not agree to their proposed custody arrangement then the children would be placed in foster care. At this time, there was no DSS involvement in the case. The Order of Protection was never heard by the judge as it was shuffled under the table by the Magistrate/Attorney and only the proposed custody arrangement was heard at that time.
This sort of action is not uncommon in the Kershaw County Family Court and other Family Courts in South Carolina. This is also many times done without the judges knowledge. Due to the fact that these threats are illegal and highly unprofessional.
This mother/victim feared for her children and as many victims do complied with the threat.
Now, nearly 3 years later after the children were placed in foster care anyways, with no valid reason ever given and the victim having been re-victimized by DSS and the husband’s attorney, the mother was informed that she owed child support and her newly acquired Driver’s license was suspended.
The mother/victim was never informed of any actual child support hearing being held. She had two notices for conferences on child support but both had been postponed. Earlier this month the mother/victim was given a simple letter delivered by a Kershaw County Sheriff’s Deputy informing her that her newly acquired drivers license was being suspended for non-payment of child support. Under state guidelines the mother had 45 days before this suspension should have taken effect, but a week after having been given the letter by the deputy, the mother received notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles that her license had been suspended.
The mother/victim is represented by a Court appointed attorney, Antoine Bostic. Even thought several requests have been made by the Mother/Victim for copies of Court Orders, and other documents, the attorney has yet to send her anything pertaining to the case and as to what is factually ordered by the courts.
The Family Court Clerk office informed the mother/victim they could not give her any copies and that she had to contact her attorney or DSS.
When the mother contacted DSS they informed her that they would have to get with their attorney to see what they could give her, to this date the mother/victim has received no documents.
Domestic violence victims in Kershaw County find this sort of actions common. Due to the attorneys influence within the Counties Court System.
Suspension of a driver’s license has always been a questionable act for not being able to pay child support, as in many cases it hinders even more so a person’s ability to earn money so they can pay.
Supporters of this action have stated that driving is a privilege and those who do not pay should not have this privilege. The majority of these supporters are attorneys who practice Family Law.
Now this mother/victim must seek employment without a driver’s license, which most of us know in today’s society is impossible.
The question here really is just how much power do these attorneys have?
The opposing attorney in this case is also a Magistrate in the County.
The Attorny Generals Office when inquired about such practices has stated these are clearly violations of ethics and possibly the law.
The mother/victim has had 4 case workers and was recently informed that several papers in the DSS file have been misplaced. These papers included her completions of several court ordered programs. The mother has not been allowed to see her 2 young children in over 2 years, while the abusive husband has open visitation due to the fact he had admitted to the abuse of his wife.
A very serious question is why is the Attorney Generals Office not looking into such open corruption of the State’s legal system in Kershaw County? And why are victims of domestic abuse being re-victimized by the people who are suppose to help them?
These questions are usually answered with the qualified immunity defense that these lawyers and judges have from the State. These actors are immune from wrong doing prosecution as long as they are doing it in their scope of professional duties. This issue has been a long debate for many victims with legislators as to why this State Statue even exists.
Many victims and other parents who file complaints against such actions from the courts and attorneys only find themselves dealing with more hassles and therefore simply comply with their rights as parents and individuals being ignored.
It is also needed to note that many more victims and parents have begun speaking out on social media pertaining to their treatment from the courts, lawyers and DSS in hopes to change this broken system.