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TOAL STILL REFUSING TO RELEASE ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE REVIEW TO THE PUBLIC

FITSNews – July 23, 2008 – A draft report from the American Bar Association harshly criticizing South Carolina’s controversial attorney discipline system has been confidentially provided to S.C. Chief Justice Jean Toal, a source close to the S.C. Supreme Court tells FITSNews.

Toal and her clerk, Dan Shearouse, received the draft earlier this month, yet as we reported back in March they will not be releasing its findings to the public. Toal and her chief disciplinary counsel, Lesley Coggiola, have also been criticized for controlling which attorneys got to appear before the ABA review team.

“(Toal) has manipulated this assessment of South Carolina’s disciplinary review process from the very beginning,” our mole at the Supreme Court says, adding that the receipt of an unflattering draft report from the ABA was “unexpected” considering that Toal and her staff “hand-picked the lawyers (the review team) spoke with.”

Regulation of the legal profession in South Carolina – including disciplining attorneys and administering the bar exam – falls exclusively to the Supreme Court, although a spate of recent scandals have lawmakers pushing to have many of those responsibilities placed elsewhere.

Of course, Toal has a powerful taxpayer-funded lobbyist in her pocket, who up to this point has been successful at blocking any attempts at reform.