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Kinard wants computer evidence thrown out; lawyer says prosecutors haven’t provided evidence to defense
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Kinard wants computer evidence thrown out; lawyer says prosecutors haven’t provided evidence to defense

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Former Bamberg County councilman Kerry Trent Kinard’s attorney has asked a judge to throw out computer evidence connected to Kinard’s Bamberg County sex-related charges.

“We would argue that all of that is insignificant,” attorney Bakari Sellers said during a Wednesday hearing.

Also, “We would ask that all of the computer evidence be suppressed,” he said.

Kinard is set to go to trial July 12 on charges of first-degree assault and battery, second-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor under age 16, committing or attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under age 16 and two counts each of criminal solicitation of a minor and dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 years of age.

Sellers argued that the computer evidence is not yet available to the defense, which will still need to sift through it and hire an expert to review it prior to the trial.

After hearing from both Sellers and 2nd Circuit Deputy Solicitor David Miller, Circuit Judge Clifton Newman decided to take the request under advisement.

“I may not make a decision until the time of trial, who knows,” he said at the close of the 45-minute virtual hearing.

Miller told the court that the S.C. Law Enforcement Division is still analyzing some of the data extracted from electronic devices seized during a search of Kinard’s father’s home in Bamberg, which is where he was living when he was taken into custody on Sept. 26, 2020.

Miller said SLED informed him that they’ve been able to extract over one terabyte of data from some of the devices. However, an Android tablet, a Chromebook laptop, a Microsoft Surface tablet and two Apple iPhones remain passcode protected and SLED analysts haven’t been able to access them.

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Miller said he told Sellers, “That if his client wanted to provide passcodes for the iPhones and Surface tablet, then that would speed things up.”

“I don’t expect him to provide the passcodes, but I asked for them,” Miller said.

Miller said he can’t provide any evidence if SLED hasn’t given it to him yet.

Sellers argued that both attorneys agreed to a 30-day deadline for the state to provide evidence in the case during an April 5 hearing.

Miller said he agreed to the deadline based on an email from SLED indicating that the electronic evidence would be available in about 30 days.

“One of the things complicating the matter is when the analyst finds something on a device, it doesn’t matter if it’s Mr. Kinard’s or whose it is, if he finds something on a device – an image or video – and it’s questionable, he has to compare that image to a database that is maintained by the Attorney General’s Office of known child porn to confirm that it is not child porn before he can say, ‘Ok, this is fine. It can be released,’” Miller said.

Miller noted that the SLED analyst has not found any evidence of child porn on the devices they’ve been able to review that were seized from Kinard’s father’s home.

Newman ordered Miller to provide a timeline from SLED as to when they seized the electronic devices and began to analyze them.

Miller said he will provide the timeline and the available computer evidence on Friday, June 11.

Kinard remains housed at the Clarendon County Detention Center in Manning pending federal sentencing for lying on an application to purchase a firearm from a Columbia-area retailer. The retailer didn’t sell the gun to Kinard.

Kinard, who served several terms as a Bamberg County Council member, is also facing charges in Jasper County. Those charges include: third-degree criminal sexual conduct, dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 and committing lewd acts upon a child under 16.

Kinard maintains his innocence in both the Bamberg and Jasper county cases.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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