Crime & Courts

Former SC prosecutor avoids prison for dropping cases for sexual favors

William “Billy” Whitney
William “Billy” Whitney Union County Sheriff’s Office

William “Billy” Whitney, a former city of Union prosecutor and city attorney, will avoid three months in prison yet will spend the next year under house arrest after pleading guilty to dropping criminal charges in exchange for sexual favors.

Whitney, 68, pleaded guilty May 19 in Union in front of Judge Dan Hall to misconduct in office, according to Hayley Thrift, spokesperson for the S.C. Attorney General’s Office which prosecuted Whitney. In that hearing Whitney was sentenced to 90 days in jail, plus community service and two years’ probation. A one-year prison term was suspended.

But last week in a court hearing in York County, Whitney’s lawyers asked that Whitney be able to serve his sentence at home because of Whitney’s need for cancer treatments. The sentence was changed to a year of house arrest and GPS monitoring because of “health issues and the fact that the County would be burdened by his cancer treatments,” Thrift said in a written statement.

Whitney abruptly resigned his post in 2013 after 17 years as the lawyer for the city of Union after he was arrested. State Law Enforcement Division agents charged Whitney with dismissing charges against two women, in 2011 and 2012, in exchange for sex.

Union’s city court is a magistrate level court that handles city misdemeanor cases. The city court in Union County is not part of the 16th Judicial Circuit, which handles felony prosecutions for York County and Union County.

In 2013, the S.C. Supreme Court suspended Whitney’s license to practice law.