Solicitor joins state commission

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comDecember 5, 2011 

An 11-member state commission tasked with examining how cases are prosecuted in South Carolina soon will have a representative from Beaufort and Jasper counties.

Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone was appointed last week by Gov. Nikki Haley to serve on the S.C. Commission on Prosecution Coordination, according to Stone's office.

Stone, the chief prosecutor for the 14th Circuit, which includes Beaufort and Jasper counties, joins four other solicitors on the 11-member panel, which also includes Senate President Glen McConnell and S.C. Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel.

Stone replaces former 7th Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy, who was elected in November 2010 to represent the state's 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Flattered by Haley's nomination, Stone said he hopes to help implement what he sees as vital reforms to the state's judicial system, including giving circuit solicitors the ability to impanel investigative grand juries.

"We need those for some of the gang activities we've seen outside Beaufort and some of the public corruption we've had across the circuit," Stone said. "We have it at the federal level, at the Attorney General's level to a lesser extent, and just about every state in this country has that law as well."

Before Stone's term expires in June 2014, he said he hopes to make the state safer and make prosecutors and other public safety officials more accountable to taxpayers.

"I hope we're able to work through some of these issues," Stone said. "This is a group of people who have a great ability to effect positive change, and hopefully I can bring something to the table."

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