This Just In

Lexington’s Big Dog Goes Down

Sheriff Metts Charged With Running Illegal-Immigrant Release Racket
By Porter Barron Jr.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 |

A federal grand jury has indicted James Metts, sheriff of Lexington County for the past 43 years, on charges of accepting bribes and abuse of office. Specifically, it’s alleged he took payments from the owner of the San Jose Mexican restaurants to release illegal immigrants from jail. Gov. Nikki Haley suspended Metts on Monday and appointed his former second in command, Lewis McCarty, as interim sheriff. Metts is fighting the charges. The State has the most comprehensive coverage of this story, including a companion piece on San Jose boss Greg Leon.

And, oh yeah, the former police chief of South Congaree, also located in Lexington County, has been indicted by state officials for accepting bribes to turn over illegal video gambling machines his department had seized, WIS reports. The Lexington County video gambling saga has been simmering for years, as Corey Hutchins reported in 2012, and had observers waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The South Carolina Senate has delayed a vote to select its next leader as Republican members try to prod one of their own to be the sacrificial lamb. Because Glenn McConnell is about to abandon the lieutenant governor’s office to become president of the College of Charleston, the Senate’s next president pro tempore soon will ascend directly to that office, according the state’s rules of succession, but only for the remainder of the year, as voters will select another lieutenant governor in November. So the next Senate leader basically is agreeing to surrender his legislative seniority for a short term in an office that everybody agrees is largely useless. Sen. Yancey McGill (D-Kingstree) is the only member to have publicly volunteered so far.

The DMV in Anderson County forced away a teenager, who is gender non-conforming, to remove his make-up to be photographed for a driver’s license. Chase Culpepper, 16, wears make-up and women’s clothing on a regular basis, and sought to be photographed for his driver’s license in such attire. A DMV official reportedly justified the action, saying Culpepper “did not look the way a boy should.” Culpepper says he was told he couldn’t wear a disguise for the photo. The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund is asking the Anderson DMV to issue another photo ID with Culpepper appearing as he regularly does. The Washington Post and others are all over this story.

Always good to see a Sandlapper kicking ass on Jeopardy. Way to go, Andrea Prospero West of Columbia!


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