Beaufort Drug Court judge retires

info@islandpacket.comFebruary 6, 2013 

Gerald Smoak, a former Circuit Court judge who joined the Beaufort County Adult Drug Court three years ago, retired Tuesday.

Smoak, 82, took over operation of the drug court in January 2010, according to the 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Smoak came out of retirement in 2010 to become the court's primary judge. He succeeded Manning Smith, who was removed by S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal shortly before his wife, former Beaufort County Clerk of Court Elizabeth Smith, pleaded guilty to improperly using federal funds to pay her husband to run the Drug Court.

Solicitor Duffie Stone said in a news release that Smoak was committed to helping the court's participants overcome addiction and mental health problems.

Since Smoak took over, 72 nonviolent offenders have been sentenced to the court, according to the release. Those offenders can be sent to prison if they don't complete requirements, which include drug and mental-health treatment.

Beaufort attorney Erin Dean, who has served as an alternate judge, will become the primary judge, the release said.

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