Wilson said she not only may lose prosecutors who specialize in cases involving driving under the influence and criminal domestic violence, but she also may have a hard time avoiding laying off some of the 10 staffers who work with victims of crime in Berkeley and Charleston counties.
"That's an area that's near and dear to all of us because it directly affects people who already have been wronged," Wilson said. "For us to not be able to give them the quality of service that we have in the past would be, in my view, victimizing them again."
If they think that's bad, there's a small, low-cost program that, if eliminated, may ensure that some of those prosecutors won't be there long enough to get downsized. Two years ago, a program, which was one of 228 to survive the Governor's veto pen, put up $225,000 to forgive student loan debt for those who work either in solictors or public defenders offices.
This program would pay up to $40,000, at up to $5,000 a year, in student loans for those attorneys who have been employed for at least three continuous years in one of five offices:
- S.C. Attorney General's Office
- S.C. Commission on Prosecution Coordination
- S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense
- Any Circuit Solicitor's Office
- Any County or Circuit Public Defender's Office
Attorney General Henry McMaster defended the program, as a
Wonderful idea to offer an incentive for those who choose to serve and continue serving our state as criminal prosecutors or public defenders. It's my hope the program will flourish, even in these trying economic times.
This is a program which the Legislature should consider funding. It's a small investment that will go a long way to keep our courts rolling.