LAURENS, SC (FOX Carolina) – Former Greenville County sheriff Will Lewis is getting out of prison less than three weeks into his one year sentence.
On Wednesday, the SC Department of Corrections said he will be transferred to the Greenville County Detention Center by the end of the day. FOX Carolina later confirmed he was booked into the jail where he awaits his bond.
On Tuesday, Judge Thomas Cooper set a $50,000 surety bond for the convicted sheriff as he appeals his conviction.
Cooper is the same judge who on Oct. 25 sentenced Lewis to serve a year in prison after Lewis was found guilty of misconduct.
After being processed in South Carolina's Department of Corrections, officials said Lewis was sent to a prison in North Carolina due to safety concerns.
Lewis was not in court Tuesday when Cooper set bond.
As part of the bond agreement, Lewis must also surrender his passport, stay in South Carolina, and make no contact with Savanah Nabors while he is on bond.
"I cannot find, based on the trial, testimony and his actions during trial, that he is a danger to the community," Judge Cooper said. "I cannot find that he is a flight risk."
Both Cooper and Brackett agreed that had the motion been denied, Lewis would have served out his one year sentence before the case could ever be heard.
Lewis' attorney agreed. "If granted bond, Mr. Lewis can always give one year to the state of South Carolina. If denied bond, the state can never give him back that one year."
Lewis will be transferred to the Greenville County Detention Center until his bond can be paid.
Activist Bruce Wilson, founder of Fighting Injustice Together, said after the hearing he felt there were "two faces of justice in South Carolina." Below is his full statement:
"We watched this judge do something that is rarely seen in the state of South Carolina, this is especially true with the black community. We watched this Judge allow convicted former Greenville Co Sheriff Will Lewis to go home after being convicted at the conclusion of a jury trial; and now the same Judge is allowing him to leave prison on an appeal bond. This Judge’s actions has solidified our belief that there are two justice systems for South Carolina “One for the privilege and one for the disadvantage”. If this is the standard, then we would respectfully ask that it be applied equally."
Jack Logan, founder of Put Down the Guns Now Young People, said he supports the judge's decision to grant bond. He released this statement:
"In Will Lewis appeal being granted it was appropriately done by law. If u have one year sentence an appeal takes longer to be heard. With him getting out on bond is appropriate because he is not a flight risk. As far as him being able to go home it is the discretion of the judge. In my years in State and Federal Courts Black people have been able to go home even after sentencing and report back to jail."