UNION COUNTY — Union County Sheriff David Taylor is again calling on the public to contact their state legislators to protest liberal sentencing and parole policies that he says helped keep a repeat drug offender out on parole despite being arrested three times following his release from prison.
In a statement released Monday, Taylor said that “another paroled Union County drug offender” had been sent back to prison during the last term of General Sessions Court. Taylor said that the drug offender was Jonathan Patrick who “was convicted on two sets of charges and received a ten-year prison sentence. Patrick plead guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine from February 16, 2017 and possession of methamphetamine and failure to stop for a blue light from July 29, 2017.”
This, however, was not the first time Patrick had been convicted of drug and drug-related and other crimes.
The press release states that in February of 2014 in York County Patrick was convicted of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and unlawful carrying of a firearm and sentenced to eight years in prison. At that time, the press release states Patrick had already been convicted in 2012 for possession of crack cocaine; in 2008 for possession with intent to distribute marijuana; and in 2004 for failure to stop for a blue light. It states that Patrick “received probation for each of these crimes.”
Taylor said that “despite this record and the fact that he had been convicted of possessing methamphetamine for sale while carrying a gun,” Patrick was nevertheless “classified as a ‘non-violent offender’ under South Carolina law when he went to prison in 2014. This status makes him eligible for quick parole, and the Parole Board released him in less than two years.”
Not long after being released, however, Patrick was once again in trouble with the law, being arrested three times within the space of six months in 2017.
The press release states that Patrick was arrested in Union County in February of 2017 for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He made bond on that charge, but was arrested in Spartanburg County in April of 2017 for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and a Schedule IV controlled substance. He made bond on that charge, but was arrested in Union County in July of 2017 for failure to stop for a blue light and possession of methamphetamine. He made bond on that charge, but he was soon once again in jail when a Circuit Court judge revoked his bond in October 2017.
Despite being arrested three times while out on parole, Taylor said that Parole Department policies prevented the department’s agents in Union County from revoking Patrick’s parole until his new cases were adjudicated in General Sessions Court.
Taylor said he saw Patrick’s case as a another result of what he said are South Carolina’s increasingly liberal sentencing and parole policies.
“Mr. Patrick should never have been paroled,” Taylor said. “And what is the point of saying someone is on parole when they are rearrested this many times and nothing happens? How many crimes does a parolee have to commit before the Parole Department will try to send them back to prison?”
Taylor concluded by urging the citizens of Union County to contact their state legislators to express their outrage about this issue.