Mr. Downs was charged with felony theft by shoplifting related to an incident at Wal-Mart in August 2020. After numerous failures to appear, Mr. Downs was eventually scheduled for trial. The trial occurred in Oconee County on May 17, 18, and 19.
Although the District Attorney’s Office received a copy of the video surveillance from Wal-Mart loss prevention, they failed to share it with the Defendant’s attorney as required by law. As a result, the video evidence could not be produced to the jury. Even without the video, the citizens of Oconee County convicted Mr. Downs for felony shoplifting based on the testimony that he stole a TV and other items from Wal-Mart on Epps Bridge Road. Unfortunately, it was later that the accusation drafted by the District Attorney’s Office only listed “a LG Television” as the stolen item. The TV itself was not valued over $500.00 and therefore the theft of same was not a felony.
The trial judge was required by law to set aside the jury’s verdict and enter an acquittal in favor of Mr. Downs.