Sanford’s Adultery May Be Criminal Under South Carolina Law

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"Sanford’s Adultery May Be Criminal Under South Carolina Law"

sanfordSouth Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) didn’t just “let down a lot of people” when he spent the last week in Argentina with his mistress, he may have committed a crime.  Under South Carolina law:

Any man or woman who shall be guilty of the crime of adultery or fornication shall be liable to indictment and, on conviction, shall be severally punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than one year or by both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court. . . .  “Adultery” is the living together and carnal intercourse with each other or habitual carnal intercourse with each other without living together of a man and woman when either is lawfully married to some other person.

Fortunately for Sanford, it is not entirely clear that the South Carolina justice system has jurisdiction over an apparent crime that he committed while traveling abroad in Argentina.  His lawyers might also argue that he cannot be convicted of criminal adultery because he and his Argentine lover were not engaged in “habitual carnal intercourse” — Sanford maintains that he only traveled to Argentina to see his mistress on rare occasions.

Nevertheless, Sanford himself explained at yesterday’s press conference that “God’s law indeed is there to protect you from yourself, and there are consequences if you breach that.”  As it turns out, Sanford may need to be more afraid of the consequences that stem from breaching the antiquated laws of South Carolina.

(HT: David Corn)

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