Sheriff Chuck Wright of the Spartanburg County South Carolina Sheriff's Office - Guilty of Nonfeasance, Misfeasance, Malfeasance or just Incompetent?
What I didn't read on the web about this South Carolina county and their broken form of justice
|Sheriff Chuck Wright and His Only Suspect|
Don Corbett Board Certified Investigator-Retired Police Detective
June 3, 2012
Note to The Daily Profiler Readers from Pat Brown: Today’s guest post is written by Don Corbett, a retired police detective, private investigator, and instructor for law enforcement. Like me, he has put in many hours pro bono on behalf of the families of the victims of the now near nine-year-old 2003 Spartanburg Country Superbike Motorsports quadruple homicides. And also, like me, he understands the struggles of police agencies to solve homicide cases and bring them to prosecution. However, he also fully recognizes, that there are some police agencies and government representatives, like those of other professions, that fail to do their jobs, refuse to be accountable for their work product, block oversight, and abuse the powers given to them by the state or the citizens. These particular agencies and individuals need to be identified and corrected if truth and justice is to prevail for the victims of these crimes and their families, and for the perpetrator or perpetrators of these heinous crimes to be removed from the streets so they cannot commit further damage to the community.
Sheriff Chuck Wright has been heard on local and national television over the past year stating ad nauseam, “Our form of justice is not making it.” Yet instead of making an effort to be innovative and try something new to fix his broken form of Spartanburg justice, he simply took the easy way out and told all women to arm themselves. The Sheriff and his staff have treated the eight year unsolved cold case of The Superbike MotorSports Quadruple Homicides in exactly the same manner, the easy way, telling the victims' families that the Spartanburg form of justice is broken in one breath (the case has been inadequately investigated from the start so we can’t fix it) but seconds later telling that they don’t need any outside help because they have everything under control.
So, the Sheriff, instead of trying a new proactive approach such as by utilizing outside assistance from trained, experienced investigators and criminal profilers, valuing fresh sets of eyes and their findings and recommendations, he has decided he will continue to do it the good ole boy’s way of broken Spartanburg justice. Keep the facts concealed to only a chosen few who have been doing the same thing over and over again for eight years without any quantifiable results, openly lie to the public, mislead the families into believing the case is being actively investigated by one cold case detective who has 50 other cold cases on his desk and shooing away any assistance who might identify nonfeasance, misfeasance, malfeasance or outright corruption on the part of the past sheriff, himself or his investigators. Why else conceal the facts after 8 years other than that they are hiding something?
Are Spartanburg County South Carolina Sheriff Chuck Wright and his staff guilty of wrongdoing in the 2003 Superbike Motorsports Unsolved Quadruple Homicide Investigation or are they just incompetent? That’s a question the victims' families, residents and news media of Spartanburg County need answered.
By failing to allow other experienced professional board certified, retired police detectives and investigators such as myself to review the cold case file under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and failing to consider all of the findings and recommendations of the highly recognized and experienced criminal profiler, Pat Brown (who DID review the file for a total of 50 hours at the department's request and about which Sheriff Wright outright lied on camera to the citizens of Spartanburg when he stated, “She's pretty critical of a case she doesn't know anything about…that she's getting off the Internet”), by failing to cooperate with them in hopes of developing new leads, Wright sends out a clear message - to hell with the victims' families and the public; if we can’t solve this case by ourselves, nobody will. So what if a quadruple murderer still lives and works in this town with the broken justice system? Maybe will get him next time. I have my ego to protect!
The Center for Public Integrity recently released its 2012 State Integrity and Corruption Investigative findings and out of 50 states, South Carolina finished as one the worst five in the US. The South Carolina Corruption Risk Report Card gave them an F receiving a 57% out of a possible 100 points. The report can be viewed by viewing this link: http://www.stateintegrity.org/south_carolina.
In the report, South Carolina received an F in Release of Public Access to Information, Ethics Enforcement Agencies, Executive Accountability and other critical areas of government. Sound familiar? It sounds like the Spartanburg County Sheriffs Office was the place graded.
After working with Pat Brown on this case and looking at the facts as we know them, it is blatantly obvious that the Sheriff and his investigators have failed miserably by not focusing on the evidence at hand, not properly investigating the two most obvious persons-of-interest, and not letting the family and others know what they really have uncovered at this point but, more importantly, what they don’t have not.
Sheriff Wright has forgotten about the family and victims and has let his ego stand in the way; his broken justice system refuses to reach out for free assistance. What does he have to lose? Sheriff Wright needs to quit hiding behind his lame interpretation of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act Exemptions section and open this case to those who can develop the information he needs to put a killer behind bars.
On his first full day in office, President Obama issued an executive order that turned a new page on open government and emphasized the importance of transparency, stating, "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency... In the face of doubt, openness prevails." Apparently Chuck Wright missed the president’s comments or believes it doesn’t apply to his “Good Old Boy Network”.
A great majority of Spartanburg County residents and the media are currently under the false impression that their sheriff and staff is omnipotent and above misfeasance, nonfeasance or malfeasance when investigating violent crimes and cold case homicides, believing that all cases will be adequately investigated in a timely manner by a professional-experienced investigator who is willing to think outside the box, and that they will release pertinent information which will assist in identifying suspects and murderers. But they have been badly misled by Sheriff Wright and his “Good Ole Boy Network”.
More and more often, victims’ families are learning that they are again victimized by the very agency charged with solving the crime. Sheriff Chuck Wright must begin to work with the public by sharing information with them to take murderers off the street. He has obviously forgotten he is responsible to protect and serve the public and needs to be held accountable for his organizational dysfunction and lack of professionalism.
Each of us knows that people's trust in law enforcement is increased when their police, sheriff and related law enforcement authorities can show and demonstrate to the public and victims' families that they have conducted a thorough investigation with integrity. By failing to release information on this investigation to other trained professionals and the victims' families it would appear to the family and public that Sheriff Wright has failed to adequately investigate the case or has something to hide. It also breeds corruption which sources have advised me openly exists in South Carolina.
In this case, Sheriff Wright has intentionally withheld information from the media, trained outside investigators, the victims’ families and the public by denying them access to the case file, again hiding behind his lame interpretation of the FOIA law enforcement exemptions section and what appears to be blatant incompetence in office.
This is a travesty of justice and an insult to the victims' families who must live every day traumatized by not knowing who and why someone murdered their loved ones and when and where they will strike again. And without question, this killer will kill again and may have already done so.
I have made it clear to the Sheriff that I do not need to view any restricted or confidential data that may affect a future trial and will not copy or record anything he deems restricted. I also offered to sign a confidentiality and non-release agreement with the Sheriff.
In this nearly 9 year old blitz style quadruple homicide where four young lives were snuffed out with no named person of interest or suspects being publicly identified, Sheriff Wright still refuses to allow the family or me (acting on their behalf) to view any part of the investigative file in an effort to develop new leads, locate something that was overlooked by the original investigators, etc. They had steadfastly refused to allow the family or me to see Pat Brown's profile even though they claimed it was useless. My concern is when does a cold case of this magnitude become available to the family and their representatives so that they can confirm that every thing that can be done to solve the case has been done? Simply relying on Sheriff Wright’s hollow statements that they have done everything in their power to solve the case is not acceptable and disrespectful to the families and public.
If the case is never solved by the authorities but left in an "open-active" status, the family, outside investigators, public and media will be forever kept in the dark as to what occurred on that hot November afternoon and a killer will continue to roam the streets to kill again. We believe the Sheriff needs to open this case file, listen to our recommendations and findings and solve this case.
Based on my professional opinion as a seasoned board investigator/retired police detective and my interpretation of the South Carolina FOIA, Sheriff Wright should have no reason to deny my viewing of the investigative file (minus restricted data) based on the totality of the circumstances and the 8 + years that have passed since the crime was committed which certainly confirms I am not acting prematurely in this matter. If the sheriff never closes the file or allows others to view it, this investigation will go unsolved forever.
As a retired police detective and board certified investigator with 30+ years experience it is obvious to me that Sheriff Chuck Wright is either guilty of nonfeasance, misfeasance or malfeasance for his total lack of accountability and failure to respond to my repeated official request for documents which under the FOIA is a clear violation of South Carolina law punishable by jail and fines. Sheriff Wright has also commented that if I had been in his office when he received my initial request, he would have ignored my FOIA request for these records and he would have “decked me” which is an obvious threat, not to mention extremely unprofessional for a person in his position. His investigator William Gary, has also threatened to arrest me if I failed to stop interviewing witnesses while in Spartanburg.
It is further evident that Sheriff Wright has intimidated others in the community including the media, his own investigators, deputies and potential witnesses to the extent that they fear repercussions if they discuss the Supebike Motorsports killings without his authorization.
There is an old Latin phrase from the Roman poet Juvenal, “quis custodiet ipsos custodies,” that translates to “who’s policing our police” which desperately needs to be answered in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Who’s policing Sheriff Wright and his Posse? Evidently, no one. Sheriff Wright needs to lose his over-inflated ego and do the “WRIGHT” thing. Open the case file.
Don Corbett is a retired police detective and board certified investigator with 30+ years of experience in law enforcement and investigations from the State of Ohio who assists families of murdered and missing children get the cooperation, information and service they deserve from law enforcement investigators.
Don Corbett, Columbus, Ohio May 28, 2012
Contact number 614-565-7189 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
See also: Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: I Read it on the Internet: Superbike Murders - Part Three, Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: I Read it on the Internet: Superbike Murders - Part Two, Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: I Read it on the Internet: Superbike Murders - Part One
and Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: The Second Tragedy of the Superbike Motorsports Quadruple Murders