Chief public defender is due in court next week: on his own DUI charge

Gene Hood, chief public defender for the region, is scheduled to appear next week in Beaufort County Magistrate Court to face charges of drunken driving, according to court records.

Hood, 65, who heads a team of public defenders in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Colleton and Allendale counties for the 14th Judicial Circuit, is scheduled to be tried at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 25.

However, Chief Magistrate Darlene Smith has granted Hood's attorney, Bruce Marshall of Beaufort, four separate motions to delay the trial, according to the county's case index. Hood originally was to be tried Dec. 3 for the Nov. 10 DUI charge, according to court records. It is unclear whether Marshall will again seek a delay.

Attempts Tuesday to reach Hood and Marshall were unsuccessful.

Hood, a Beaufort resident, faces a $400 fine or up to 30 days in jail if convicted.

He was appointed to his position by the S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense in August 2008, and previously was a public defender in Beaufort County.

Commission officials have said no disciplinary action against Hood has been considered and that he will be allowed to stay in his post at least until his case is heard in court.