Reporter named Beaufort County magistrate

achristnovich@islandpacket.comApril 18, 2012 

Reporter Richard Brooks will turn in his press badge and don a judge's robe after being appointed to the Beaufort County Magistrate Court bench.

"It's an honor to be asked, and I'm glad to do it," Brooks said.

Brooks -- a former reporter, news and sports editor for The Beaufort Gazette and subsequently for Bluffton Today -- has spent about 30 years in journalism. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Clemson University and graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1986. State Sen. Tom Davis of Beaufort nominated him, and his appointment was approved by Gov. Nikki Haley and the state Senate last week.

Brooks said his new job has enough in common with journalism to make the transition easy.

"It's something different every day, which is one of the great things about being a reporter, too," he said.

At first, his duties as a magistrate will be limited to setting bonds and signing search and arrest warrants, Brooks said. He will be trained starting in August to preside over misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases involving less than $7,500.Brooks said he hasn't been told yet when he'll be sworn in.

"I have met a ton of people that have always been generous, forthcoming and easy to get along with," he said of his newspaper career. "I'll miss seeing that cross section of Beaufort County that I'm used to seeing."

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