Monday, August 3, 2009
A South Carolina Magistrate received a public reprimand based on the following findings of fact:
On January 30, 2008, respondent was arrested and charged with petit larceny. The charge stemmed from the removal of a statue from the yard of a member of his wife’s family. The charge was nolle prossed on July 17, 2008. In the Agreement for Discipline by Consent, respondent does not admit any criminal wrongdoing, but acknowledges that as a sitting judge he should not have involved himself in his wife’s family matter because it could call into question the integrity of the judiciary.
On February 6, 2008, an order was issued placing respondent on interim suspension as a result of the criminal charge. On November 6, 2008, this Court found respondent in criminal contempt for violating the terms of the order. The finding of contempt was based on telephone calls made by respondent to his former magisterial employees in an effort to obtain a continuance in a case pending before the magistrate’s court to which he was not a party.
The sanction was an agreed disposition that took into account that the magistrate is no longer in office. (Mike Frisch)