This news outlet hosts plenty of debates regarding core functions of government – and their proper administration – but none of those debates could take place without one core function of government being consistently and credibly performed.
I am referring, of course, to law and order … and the subsequent dispensation of justice via a court system that holds people accountable when they break the law. Absent such a system, the other debates don’t matter all that much.
This is why my news outlet has expended significant bandwidth in recent years demanding reform of South Carolina’s badly broken judicial system – and pushing to hold Palmetto State judges and prosecutors accountable when they fail to uphold their duty to the public.
Given the powerful political interests propping up South Carolina’s justice system, this has been a lonely fight at times … but thankfully it is not a fight we are fighting alone.
Two of the most outspoken advocates for judicial reform in South Carolina over the last few years have been York County sheriff Kevin Tolson and S.C. sixteenth circuit solicitor Kevin Brackett. Over a year-and-a-half ago, Tolson organized sheriffs in the Palmetto State in support of reform – calling out state legislators for their ongoing failure to elect judges who prioritize public safety and the rights of crime victims.
“Even though South Carolina operates three branches of government that are intended to be ‘co-equal,’ the legislature is ultimately responsible for the screening and appointment of judges,” Tolson wrote at the time.
Tolson added that “judges must be held accountable for their actions – both in the bonds they set and the sentences they determine.”
As for Brackett, last December he marched into the home district of powerful S.C. Senate judiciary chairman Luke Rankin and called him out by name as being part of the problem.
“He is not helping us,” Brackett said of Rankin. “He is not a friend of public safety.“
Brackett was every bit as blunt earlier this year at a bipartisan rally for reform at the S.C. State House.
“We can’t do our job if the referees are being picked by the criminal defense bar,” he said. “We can’t keep you safe.”
Along with S.C. first solicitor David Pascoe and state representatives including Joe White, Heather Bauer and Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Tolson and Brackett have been the driving forces to fix this failed system in South Carolina.
It was an honor to have them in our studio for this important conversation …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.