Ex-Charleston City Councilman Kwadjo Campbell seeks pardon
Former Charleston City Council member Kwadjo Campbell has applied for a pardon from the state for a variety of crimes dating as far back as 1993.
Campbell, 40, served eight years on Charleston City Council where he was a longtime critic of Mayor Joe Riley and his administration. But his time on council also was clouded by a couple of legal run-ins. In 2007 he was ordered to pay fines, restitution and court costs for campaign ethics violations, and a single marijuana possession charge. The marijuana charge stemmed from a Charleston arrest in 2005 after police found a marijuana cigar in a car he was using.
Campbell now lives in Greenville. Reached by phone, he called his pardon application “a private matter,” saying he was pursuing legal forgiveness from the state “so that I can move on with my life.”
By definition, a pardon in South Carolina is considered an executive act of “grace or clemency” releasing an offender from most legal consequences of a criminal conviction. It does not erase or expunge any record that a crime or conviction occurred.
Pete O’Boyle, spokesman for the state Probation, Parole and Pardon Services Board, said the office has seen a spike in pardon requests in recent months, and that one of the more popular reasons appears to be work related. People are seeking jobs and want a clean slate, he said.
Also, receiving a pardon makes it easier to get state-issued licenses and restoration of gun rights.
Campbell’s pardon request covers a variety of scrapes with the law, starting with a simple assault conviction in 1993, and includes various charges of disobeying a lawful order, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, contempt of court and violating probation, O’Boyle said.
Applying for a pardon includes paying a $100 non-refundable review fee.
Campbell’s case could be heard as soon as next month. For now, the process includes going through his references and doing a background check. To obtain an Order of Pardon, it takes the support of at least two-thirds of the members of the seven-member pardon board. A successful request leads to receiving a “Pardon Certificate.”
Campbell said he wanted the pardon for simple reasons. “It’s just something that I’d like to have, showing that I’ve moved on.”