NORTH CHARLESTON — Dominick Marquis Archield won’t make it home for the holidays this year as his bond was denied again after awaiting trial for nearly four years.
Archield was charged with murder in the death of a transgender woman in 2019. He spent the rest of the year in jail until he was granted a $70,000 surety bond in March 2020, but he was rearrested in November 2020, on attempted murder charges.
His defense attorney, Claire Schulmeister, laid out evidence during a Nov. 20 Charleston County Circuit Court bond hearing in front of Judge Bentley Price that Archield’s charges stem from what she says is extremely weak circumstantial evidence, and his mother, Iris Archield, maintains his innocence. But North Charleston police previously told The Post and Courier that Archield, 38, is guilty of both violent offenses.
A trial would allow jurors to decide who is right.
Assistant Solicitor Jordan Norvell promised during the bond hearing that Archield’s attempted murder trial is set for January, although the docket has not yet been made public. The Racial Justice Network’s James Johnson, who was present at the bond hearing, worries Archield’s murder trial could be as late as 2025.
Although a plea deal was previously offered, Archield “doesn’t want to plead guilty to a murder he didn’t do” even if it means spending more months behind bars, Schulmeister said. She asserted there’s nothing that indicates Archield is dangerous.
Price denied bond on Archield’s attempted murder charge after considering it for several hours.
After hearing the news, Schulmeister said she was “disappointed but not surprised.”
Being in jail for nearly four years without a trial date inked is unjust, according to the Racial Justice Network’s president, James Johnson.
“The system is unfair,” Johnson said. “They need to go ahead and do something about those people who have been in jail for more than two years.”
South Carolina’s criminal courts have been plagued for years by a backlog that was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. An annual report by Charleston County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council found the typical case in Charleston County’s General Sessions Court lasted 625 days, which is more than 1½ years. That is a 51 percent increase from 2014 and a 5 percent increase from 2021.