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Legette honored for sending Colleton’s most violent, repeat offenders to prison

Fourteenth Circuit Assistant Solicitor Tameaka Legette

One of Colleton County’s longest-serving special prosecutors has received a federal leadership award, all while sending some of the worst offenders in Colleton County to prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has named Fourteenth Circuit Assistant Solicitor Tameaka Legette the John R. Justice Community Leadership Award.
The award is presented annually during the Solicitor’s Conference, which is held in Myrtle Beach. It recognizes an assistant solicitor who has “exhibited exemplary community service or implemented innovative solutions to advance public safety,” according to information provided by Erinn McGuire, Community Outreach director for the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Legette has been a prosecutor for the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office since 2002, when she graduated from the University of South Carolina’s School of Law.
The Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office is comprised of five counties – Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper. The office prosecutes all crimes in those counties. Within the solicitor’s office, Legette has been appointed to a special Career Criminal Unit, which was created by Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone.
This unit focuses on prosecuting all career criminals and violent offenders in the Fourteenth Circuit.
While working in this special unit, Legette primarily focuses on Colleton County.
“I am humbled beyond words for the award and all the precious thoughts that were written and expressed about me during the nomination process,” Legette said, in a written statement. “I am blessed, and I am thankful to God for the award, for my family, and for our Solicitor, who has allowed me to continue to do the work of the Lord.”
In 2008, six years after joining the Solicitors’ Office, Legette was also promoted to “administrating solicitor” for Hampton and Allendale Counties, winning the Solicitor’s Office internal award for the best-run General Sessions Court. She routinely has one of the highest conviction rates within the Fourteenth Circuit, and also has the fewest number of people awaiting trial in the counties she oversees.
Additionally, Legette helped Stone to create a special domestic violent court in Hampton County.
As a Career Criminal Unit Prosecutor, Legette tackles the most violent and most habitual offenders in Colleton, Hampton and Allendale counties. While doing this, she has earned convictions against 95 percent of all defendants. Among those she has sent to prison are 17 gang members.
This was a part of the local Solicitor’s Office working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stop organized crime in the Lowcountry.
“This type of partnership between our office and federal prosecutors is invaluable,” said Stone, in a written statement. “There’s no question that the Fourteenth Circuit is safer, as a result of this collaboration,” he said. “Tameaka has been, and continues to be an integral part.”
Specifically, Legette is a part of the Career Criminal Unit. This unit prosecutes the most violent offenders and the repeat offenders. These offenders are labeled “most violent” or “repeat” by an internal process, on a case-by-case review, said McGuire.
“It’s the nature of the offense, and more times than not, it’s the murderers, the rapists and the violent drug cases,” she said.
In 2018, the Career Criminal Unit took 10 career criminals in Colleton County to trail. Each of those 10 were convicted. In all five counties within the circuit, the career criminal unit took 33 people to court: of those, 31 were sent to prison by a judge or jury. Since its inception, the specialized unit has taken 343 defendants to trail, with 330 of those being convicted. That’s a 96.2 percent success rate.
In addition to serving as an assistant solicitor, Legette is also a choir member of the Harmonica Baptist Church in Hampton. She is also a member of the Elizabeth Church in Colleton County.
The Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office is comprised of 25 assistant solicitors, all of whom are led by Solicitor Duffie Stone and by Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton.

Heather Walters (1738 Posts)