If 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson had her way, an alleged criminal released on bond that re-commits a crime, would not be allowed to post bond again.
“It’s frustrating to me, my thing is if you are arrested, you’re out on bond, and you re-offend, you have violated contract. Forget about whether or not you are convicted, you signed a piece of paper to get you out and you promised not to get arrested, you did it, and to me it’s over,” says Wilson.
However, that’s not the case in South Carolina right now. One of Wilson’s cases proves this.
On June 30, Jermel Brown of North Charleston was found shot to death underneath the I-26 overpass in Charleston. On July 7, Charleston police and the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Rafael Horlbeck and charged him with Brown’s murder; however, this wasn’t the first time police had handcuffed Horlbeck. Dating back to February of 2005, Horlbeck’s rap sheet has continuously developed, and every time, he gets out on bond.
“Bonds or bail doesn’t mean much here. It seems like no matter how many times you get arrested, you get a bond, and that’s something I’ve tried to change and we continued to move to revoke bonds, and just unfortunately not had much success. Now, we had a murder charge against this guy that we dismissed earlier this year, and that’s what happens when witnesses fall out,” says Wilson.
Wilson is referring to Horlbeck’s past convictions, when in the past four years, his record includes: drug and shoplifting charges, possession of a hangun as a minor, probation violation, simple assault, rape charges an 8-year-old boy, and murder.
Wilson says something needs to be done, or it will happen again.
“My fear is if the community doesn’t step up and take ownership of their young people and their streets, that this is gonna happen again. We’re gonna have a case we can’t make, we do everything we can, we’re gonna have to let it go, and somebody else gets hurt,” says Wilson.
Wilson says people out on bond should only have one shot to violate, and after that, it should be over.
“When you violated that contract, you don’t deserve to have another chance to write another contract and say ‘i’ll be good this time.’ The other thing is probation. It has to mean something. If someone gets a slap on the wrist every time they violate a probation, it means nothing and they laugh at us,” says Wilson.
Wilson has hopes for violation laws to change in the South Carolina criminal system.
Horlbeck is now in the Charleston County Jail being held without bail.