State House

Embattled South Carolina Judicial Panel To Hear Allegations Against Candidate

On the eve of the legislature picking its favorites, one judicial race is about to be down a candidate …

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South Carolina’s much-maligned Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) has scheduled a public hearing to address allegations against a candidate seeking an at-large circuit court seat.

The hearing scheduled for Monday (January 15, 2024) comes a day before members of the S.C. General Assembly – who controversially elect judges in the Palmetto State from a slate prepared by the JMSC – are allowed to publicly commit to candidates in these races.

According to our sources, the hearing will end with one of the three candidates for one of these races being removed from consideration.

The hearing also comes amid a period of heightened scrutiny over the notoriously corrupt, routinely incestuous judicial selection process in South Carolina … which continues to yield a judiciary dispensing inequitable, unsatisfactory outcomes for the people of the Palmetto State.

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The focus of Monday’s hearing? Allegations involving a candidate for one of the state’s sixteen “at-large” circuit court judgeships. South Carolina has forty-six circuit court judges – sixteen of whom are elected as “at-large” judges. All circuit court judges are elected to staggered, six-year terms.

The three candidates for this particular “at-large” seat are:

The JMSC’s hearing has been set for 3:00 p.m. EST in room 105 of the Gressette Building – the Senate office building located on the grounds of the S.C. State House.

Our media outlet will attend Monday’s hearing and provide coverage …

UPDATE |

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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5 comments

SubZeroIQ January 15, 2024 at 2:12 pm

Let me guess: it’s the black man in the race, right? Y’all can’t stand a black man succeeding or advancing unless he is totally committed to doing your bidding.
Has anyone inquired about what the complaint that was dismissed against John Kittredge was and why it was not heard when a totally frivolous complaint against Jean Toal was heard instead?
Has anyone inquired about why a complaint against another candidate (white male) for re-election was dismissed when he has left a simple motion unruled on for over two years now?
All you pretend to be serious and courageous journalism is geared at giving prosecutors (specially corrupt ones) absolute power and on putting as many black people “right or wrong” in jails and prisons for as long as possible.
Have you followed up on ANY case of prosecutorial misconduct?
Have you even reported on John Kittredge using his position to get a pardon for his maternal grandfather’s financial crimes?
Have you reported on Columbia’s Police Department’s brazenly stealing a registered and insured truck from its owner’s land and giving it to her neighbor who has long coveted it?
No, you have done none of that because the people affected do not pay you.
Just do an experiment: see if someone in a wheel chair can get into South Carolina’s Supreme Court building.
And I am doing my experiment by seeing if you will even let this comment through.

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AC Top fan January 16, 2024 at 7:15 am

Subzero if your racist and anti semitic mind would care to check, I believe she was one of three African American candidates for this seat. She chose to break the rules and was rightly removed as were others in past judicial elections for the same conduct.

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SubZeroIQ January 16, 2024 at 9:02 am

How can I be “racist” and “anti semitic” if I am semitic and a fervent supporter of Egypt’s peace with Israel? In fact, last year, I unfriended someone I had considered one of my best friends from medical school for over 50 years BECAUSE he was against normalization AND close-minded about it.
You assumed I am “anti semitic” because I am Coptic Orthodox Christian, which IS racist, xenophobic, AND stereo-type-perpetetuating on your part.
Christian means I love every one, even people I am supposed to consider my political enemies, which Isreal is not but deportations-pushing-politicians are.
Orthodox means I read the Bible as if, not as summarized, Hollywood-ized, and frankly bastardized.
Copti means I am GENETECIALLY semetic. And, in my own non-falsifiable fantasy, probably a descendant of Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel.
How so?
Joseph married Athanat, an Egyptian, and had two sons, Ephraim and Menassi BEFORE Jacob traveled to Egypt and blessed those two sons in the reverse birth order. But Jacob said to Joseph, these two sons shall be mine (meaning Hebrew), your children who follow shall be yours (meaning Egyptian).
So, there has to have been descendant of Joseph and Athanat who remained Egyptian; and their blood line must have been too genetically fit to become extinct. So, here is a mellenia-great-daughter of Joseph and Athanat; and I arrived to America invited by no less than then-President Carter after the Camp-David Peace Accord between Egypt and Israel.
And, when I found myself falsely accused of crimes (harassment) in America, I defended myself WITHOUT A LAWYER and, thank God, ultimately fully exonerated myself.
I stood alone before a Richland County jury in a trial with none other than Judge Clifton Newman presiding and told them in my opening statement the story of Joseph; of how his false accuser was the real criminal, and of how the very proof of his innocence was misused as evidence against him; and of how God never abandoned Joseph because he never forgot God. In my closing statement to that jury who, after six hours of deliberations on 26 February 2010, refused to convict me, I asked them, “who was harassing whom?”
And when the rogue prosecutor who had tried but failed to frame me gruffly and vindictively said to me, “Don’t talk to me,” as we were collecting our respective exhibits after a mistrial was declared and I had asked her, “where do the court’s exhibits go?” I replied INSTINCTIVELY, “I will talk to you and I will love you.”
Why am I telling you this? Because stereotypes create problems and divert attention from their solutions.
I have also become aware of an apt analogy between HAMAS and Texas Governor Abbott, the expression of this analogy will make many people hate me but it will be an accepatable price if even SOME start thinking about it.
What were the Jewish people who arrived in then-British-occupied Palestine in 1948? They were refugees from violence as are the Latin Americans trying to apply for asylum at the border.
HAMAS’ refusal to open their lands and hearts to refugees led it to kill and kidnap elederly women and babies on 7 October 2023.
Texas Governor Abbott’s refusal to recognize the human right to flee to safety led him to REPORTEDLY prevent the rescue of a woman and her two babies from drowning in a river at Texas’ border with Mexico.
HAMAS wants the gandchildren of the 1948 Jewish refugees chased out of the only land they were born into and ever knew as home.
Some voices in the Republican party want to withdraw birthright citizenship from natural-born American citizens, including Nikki Haley, if their parents were immigrants, even lawful and sought-after immigrants.
As far as Ms. Bailey is concerned, she was AGAIN found qualified but another person was nominated in her stead. I do not know the race of that person; but if he is white and the other remaining two candidates are black, it would have been a clear maneuvre to split the black vote between the two remaining black candidates and the newly-added white candidate wins.
Peace, though.

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SubZeroIQ January 17, 2024 at 7:18 am

And just as I thought, Russell Hilton, the candidate who replaced Ms. Bailey for that seat is a white male.
Someone must have noticed that the three candidates for that seat are black and thus the seat is guaranteed to be won by a black candidate.
No, no, no, we can’t have that, they must have thought. So, they go spying on the most energetic black candidate, who happens to be female.
With the retirements of Judges Manning, Clifton Newman, and Alex Kinlaw, there are no more black male circuit judges in active full-time service in South Carolina (“SC”); and the REAL RACISTS want to keep it that way.
And that is quite puzzling to me because black judges in general, and those retiring three in particular (with Juliana Michelle Childs imitating them when she was on SC’s circuit court bench and Reggie Lloyd exceeding them when he was on SC’s circuit bench) practiced what I call “black on black sentencing,” meaning they sentenced black criminal defendants more harshly than white ones to prove that the judges did not prefer their own race.
But that is NOT enough fro the REAL RACISTS. Any symbol of black or immigrant excellence is very disturbing for them BECAUSE it undermines the very ideological foundation of colonialism/empirialism with “the sun never setting on the British Empire.”
But the world out there has left “the British Empire” behind; and those who REALLY love America as I do do not want the world to leave America behind.
Those who REALLY love America want it to attain moral purity, because the world out there sees hypocrisy and calls it.
Not that I am defending Russia’s legal system for example, but the 8-year sentence given that lesbian basketball player for packing some cannabis oil is EXACTLY the same sentence Julia Michelle Childs had given a black defendant for having one cannabis leaf or something.
Why is the same sentence harsh and horrible when given to an American in Russia but law-and-order wonderful when given in SC?
There is no intellectually honest answer to that. And if, God forbid, the America I love loses intellectual honesty, it loses everything.

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SubZeroIQ January 18, 2024 at 8:40 am

For the sake of the few who visit FITSNews for reasons OTHER THAN the Alex Murdaugh saga, I post my brilliant thoughts on the lastest episode of that saga here.
And here we go.
We now know, thanks to Becky “Boo” Hill’s book pages 58-60, that a white male guilty-voting, New-York-interview-giving, juror has a “baby mama” with whom he was have a troubled relationship.
Jean Toal’s exclusion of the wrongful removal of the “egg juror” is EXTREME LEGAL ERROR which she should reconsider on her own motion or on motion of Alex Murdaugh’s (“AM”) defense team which, despite their great efforts on behalf of their client, is IMPROPERLY too submissive to Toal.
At the very least, “Dick and Jim” should point out to Jean Toal what SC’s Supreme Court (“S Ct”) reiterated just yesterday in SC Advance Sheets (“SCAS”) Number 2 of 2024 at pages 26-27, which I paste herunder for everyone’s benefit:
The only quibble we have with the court of appeals’ double jeopardy analysis is its discussion that Benton suffered no prejudice from the mistrial because he was allowed to present his alibi witnesses at his retrial. The constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy protects defendants from the dread, anxiety, and financial cost of enduring the gauntlet of criminal prosecution and punishment more than once for the same offense. See Arizona, 434 U.S. at 503–05 (explaining the double jeopardy clause protects “the defendant’s ‘valued right to have his trial completed by a particular tribunal'” and this right is valued because “a second prosecution . . . increases the financial and emotional burden on the accused, prolongs the period in which he is stigmatized by an unresolved accusation of wrongdoing, and may even enhance the risk that an innocent defendant may be convicted” (citations removed)).
The defendant’s interest in having his fate determined by the first impaneled jury is therefore “a weighty one.” Somerville, 410 U.S. at 471. As such, “the lack of apparent harm to the defendant from the declaration of a mistrial [does] not itself justify the mistrial[.]” Id. at 469. Further, in Jorn, a plurality of the Supreme Court noted inquiries into who benefits from a mistrial are “pure speculation.” 400 U.S. at 483. Therefore, the Jorn plurality concluded that to allow a retrial “based on an appellate court’s assessment of which side benefited from the mistrial ruling does not adequately satisfy the policies underpinning the double jeopardy provision.” Id.
Here, the trial court focused, as it should have, on whether, given all the circumstances, a mistrial was necessary to further the ends of public justice. See
United States v. Perez, 22 U.S. 579, 580 (1824) (stating a mistrial may be granted without violating double jeopardy when, in the sound discretion of the court, “taking all the circumstances into consideration, there is a manifest necessity for the act, or the ends of public justice would otherwise be defeated”); Gori v. United States, 367 U.S. 364, 368 (1961) (“Where, for reasons deemed compelling by the trial judge, who is best situated intelligently to make such a decision, the ends of substantial justice cannot be attained without discontinuing the trial, a mistrial may be declared without the defendant’s consent and even over his objection . . . .”). The trial court wisely understood that not granting a mistrial under the circumstances could undermine public confidence in the outcome. See Wade v. Hunter, 336 U.S. 684, 689 (1949) (“[A] defendant’s valued right to have his trial completed by a particular tribunal must in some instances be subordinated to the public’s interest in fair trials designed to end in just judgements.”). We therefore vacate the court of appeals’ prejudice discussion but otherwise affirm its double jeopardy ruling.

Again, I do not think AM should be granted a new trial, I think (based on double jeopardy) he should be acquitted OF THE MURDERS out-right because STATE ACTORS wrongfully interfered with his right to have his case decided by the chosen panel, including the “egg juror.”
I also think “Dick and Jim” are being ineffective already for not pressing this point.
Yes, I know better than they do.
After all, I, thank God and WITHOUT A LAWYER, avoided getting myself wrongfully convicted by a jury presided over by none other than Judge Clifton Newman. “Dick and Jim” FAILED to get for their client what I got for myself.
Now, unless they listen to me, their client is at risk of getting his wrongful convictions cemented because “Dick and Jim” do not know the law as well as I do and are too arrogant to listen to me and give me credit for directing them to the more principled and fruitful paths.

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