Victory for Truth and Justice!
Today the South Carolina Court of Appeals issued its fantastic opinion in State v. Kevin Tyrone Bennett (Appellate Case No. 2012-207559). It’s a fantastic opinion because the issue raised here– sufficiency of the evidence– is an incredibly difficult claim to win. It is, however, so important to our bedrock ideas of criminal justice; that is, what constitutes enough evidence to justify taking a person’s liberty? Here, Mr. Bennett was a regular patron at a local community center in Spartanburg, SC. Community center– you know, where bunches of people hang out, by design. Well, one evening someone entered the community center, attempted perhaps to take a television (unsuccessfully) out of one room, and did abscond with another television and some other stuff out of the computer room. Investigators located one fingerprint belonging to Bennett, and two small droplets of blood below where the missing television set was located. Based on this, and this ALONE, Bennett was arrested, tried, and then convicted of the burglary. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
As the Court points out, all this evidence does is show that Bennett was in the location where a crime ultimately occurred, but not that he was the criminal who stole the goods.
David Alexander of the Office of Appellate Defense perfected the appeal, and did a great job.