Solicitor: SLED background checks 'notoriously inaccurate'

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -Solicitor Scarlett Wilson blamed faulty background checks for officials' inability to follow a new state law.

The law, which went in to effect in July, required repeat violent offenders to have bond set by a general sessions judge up to 30 days after the crime, rather than the typical magistrate required to set bond within 24 hours.

Police charged 16-year-old Timothy McClendon with attempted murder, attempted robbery and possession of a weapon during a violent crime last week.

McClendon shot a man in the Northwoods Mall parking lot, officials said. He faced a magistrate who set his bond at $116,000.

But if his prior record had been considered, he would have waited up to 30 days after the arrest to have his bond hearing. That would have given officials more time to look into his background.

Authorities charged McClendon with cocaine trafficking in January. Drug trafficking is considered a violent crime in South Carolina.

Wilson said his prior record was not considered because his background check mistakenly came back clean.

"We have to look at what happened with the rap sheet and why that wasn't correct. Because the officer there only had the information that he has. Rap sheets are notoriously inaccurate. So it's hard to know how many people's pending charges aren't showing up," Wilson said.

A State Law Enforcement Division spokeswoman said the agency could only include charges provided by detention centers and law enforcement agencies.

As of last week, North Charleston police had not provided McClendon's prints from the January arrest, the spokeswoman said.

North Charleston Police did not respond to ABC News 4's request for comment Monday.