Wednesday, October 23, 2013
A former assistant solicitor was suspended for six months by the South Carolina Supreme Court for misconduct relating to the jury service of his cousin.
The cousin had asked the solicitor for advice on avoiding jury service. The solicitor told his cousin to advise the court that his business could not open if he served and that his cousin was an assistant solicitor.
The cousin did not advise of the relationship in voir dire and was selected for a criminal trial.
After the state had rested, defense counsel learned of the relationship. The cousin was excused from the jury.
The evidence in the bar case revealed approximately 30 text messages between the solicitor and the cousin during the trial. The ex parte contacts with the cousin/juror "correlated closely with recesses and breaks during the trial."
The sanction was imposed effective on the socilcitor's last day of employment. (Mike Frisch)