Upstate lawyer explains judicial system after arrest of Woodruff - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate lawyer explains judicial system after arrest of Woodruff kidnapping suspect

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Grant Varner discusses how the judicial system operates after an arrest. (FOX Carolina/ May 24, 2016) Grant Varner discusses how the judicial system operates after an arrest. (FOX Carolina/ May 24, 2016)
WOODRUFF, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Marcus Todd, the suspect in a Woodruff Street shooting in Woodruff, has a record that dates back to 2013.  There are arrests for felony charges and misdemeanors. Some of his convictions resulted in suspensions or probation.

"We'll often engage in negotiations between the defense attorney and the prosecutor and reach a happy medium if you will," Grant Varner said.

Varner is a lawyer, but doesn't represent Todd and hasn't seen his record. However, he explains how the judicial system operates.

 "The biggest misconception of our judicial system is that when someone is arrested and given a bond and allowed to get out of jail, that they're not being punished," Varner said.

He says most people don't understand the weight of charges and possible penalties and jail time.

"Not every felony involves a gun or a knife," Varner said. "That bonding judge is going to be aware of your criminal history, however that's not necessarily an indicator that you committed this crime or you're going to commit 10 more crimes in the future," he said.

And Varner says every charge doesn't lead to a conviction and sometimes charges are negotiated.

"At the time someone is charged with a crime, more than not they are charged with the maximum possible charge that law enforcement feels they could secure a conviction on," Varner said.

He says a bond judge looks at if a person is a danger to the community or a flight risk. Varner says during the sentencing phase of a case of the facts support a negotiated plea agreement, a judge will decide to sign off on it or not.

"Once you have completed your sentence, you've paid your debt to society- you're free to go," he said.

And now Todd will go through the process again. His bond hearing is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

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