SC Supreme Court Justice Beatty comments fire up solicitors across state

mmcnab@beaufortgazette.comDecember 2, 2013 

Duffie Stone

Solicitors across South Carolina are taking issue with comments made by S.C. Supreme Court Justice Donald Beatty, who criticized what he called prosecutorial misconduct in the 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office at a recent prosecutors conference.

The 9th Judicial Circuit covers Charleston and Berkeley counties; the circuit's solicitor is Scarlett Wilson.

Duffie Stone, whose 14th Judicial Circuit includes Beaufort County, is among 13 solicitors who have signed a letter written by Wilson to S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson asking that Beatty recuse himself from criminal appeals coming from the 9th Circuit.

The Attorney General's Office handles appeals for solicitors in the Supreme Court and the attorney general would make the formal request that Beatty recuse himself.

Stone said the solicitors will discuss their concerns in a meeting with the attorney general in Greenville later this week.

Beatty said the Supreme Court would no longer turn a blind eye to prosecutorial misconduct and would be "coming after" prosecutors who try to withhold evidence, delay cases or use other questionable tactics, to get convictions.

Although no comments were specifically directed at the 14th Circuit, Stone said he supports Scarlett Wilson's letter.

Beatty's "comments may be on the opinion of a few prosecutors, but his decisions affect every criminal case in South Carolina," Stone said. "His decisions aren't going to be limited to a few circuits; they affect every case and how we do our jobs. We have a responsibility to be fair to everyone."

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