Monday, November 8, 2010
The South Carolina Supreme Court accepted a consent discipline and removed a municipal court judge from office. The court recited the facts:
In February 2008, respondent attended the South Carolina Summary Court Judges Association Staff/Judges Seminar in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Jane Doe (fictitious name), a twenty year old female, attended the seminar with respondent and his staff, although not as an employee of his court. Respondent and Doe stayed together at a hotel in the Myrtle Beach area. The hotel room was a suite and respondent denies any inappropriate sexual conduct with Doe during the seminar.
Doe had been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in the jurisdiction of Cottageville. Respondent admits that, in allowing Doe to share his hotel suite, he created an appearance of impropriety that could undermine public confidence in the judiciary.
In St. George and Cottageville, respondent operated an alternative sentencing program known as the "Judge Michael Evans' Program" or "Adjournment to Dismiss." Doe was enrolled in respondent's alternative sentencing program in Cottageville; she paid approximately $565.00 to enroll in the program and the funds went to the general fund of the Town of Cottageville.
Respondent's alternative sentencing programs were not administered or approved by the Solicitor's Office for the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit or First Judicial Circuit. Respondent admits that he acted in contravention of an order of the Supreme Court of South Carolina in that he operated the programs without the specific approval of the Circuit Solicitors.