The special election campaign for Horry County Council District 3 took a negative turn this week with an attempt to smear Republican candidate Bubba Owens.
This was not unexpected as the campaign of Bob Kelly has been trying for weeks to get out what it thought was damaging information about Owens.
The information came from a search of the public index of court records on Owens.
After that search, Kelly’s campaign consultant, Jim Wiles, sent an email to GSD and other media, which, among other things, decried the “22 year criminal record (of Owens) in Horry County” including “two convictions for criminal domestic violence.”
The email went on to claim “15 criminal convictions” and called Owens a “violent felon with a 22 year history of domestic violence.”
A search of the SLED CATCH system, which is the Criminal Justice Information System of South Carolina, reveals only three entries.
Owens plead guilty to unlawful use of a telephone (a misdemeanor) in January 1997 and public disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor) in June 2004.
Owens was arrested for criminal domestic violence (a felony) in 2013, but the charges were dismissed because no probable cause for the arrest was found.
(The SLED CATCH documents are attached at the end of this story.)
Another attached document is a summons for Owens to serve as a federal district court jurist in December 2015. For those of you not familiar with the law, a convicted felon cannot serve on a jury in South Carolina, neither federal nor state.
So, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division records do not show Owens to be a felon. Neither do SC court system records.
One has to wonder, however, why the Kelly campaign, one which claims his career as a police officer as some kind of shining endorsement and touts the words “Zero Tolerance” as if it were a Bible verse, felt the need to stoop so low.