Tag Archives: Judicial Department

Senators keep tight control over county magistrates

April 14, 2021

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT If there’s one power that S.C. senators likely will never relinquish – at least willingly – it’s their control over the selection of the state’s more than 300 county magistrates. Magistrates, who handle traffic tickets and other relatively minor criminal and civil cases, know how much authority senators can exercise even […]

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Secrecy still order of the day in S.C. court system

March 10, 2021

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT If an ethics complaint is filed against a South Carolina judge, in most cases the public will never learn the details. That’s because court rules adopted by the five-member S.C. Supreme Court – the state’s top court – largely ensure secrecy in the process. For example, under court rules, misconduct proceedings against […]

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State court system won’t reveal key details on judicial discipline

February 5, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT For the second time in recent months, the S.C. Judicial Department has sided with secrecy about how the court system operates. In October, the department denied The Nerve’s request under the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for a list of judicial staff making at least $50,000 annually – records which are […]

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Lawmakers want to grow size of state’s top court – and their control over judges

January 20, 2021

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT The powerful S.C. House speaker, who controls half of the appointments on a committee that nominates judges for election in the Legislature, wants to expand the size of the state’s highest court and eliminate the cap on judicial nominees. Rep. Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, is the main sponsor of a joint resolution calling […]

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‘Exempt’ state agencies staffed with $100K+ workers

December 18, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Two months ago, The Nerve asked the state-created South Carolina Research Authority for a list of its employees making at least $50,000 annually. In one-sentence written response, the SCRA – which has a state mandate to “advance the general welfare” of South Carolinians – said only that it “does not have taxpayer […]

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Plenty of Ports Authority employees in six-figure salary club

December 9, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT More than 200 S.C. Ports Authority employees received at least $100,000 in total wages last fiscal year, with agency president and CEO Jim Newsome making $546,236, records show. The total number of workers at the state-created agency who made $50,000 or more in fiscal 2020, which ended June 30, was 608, according […]

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Judicial Department reverses course, releases staff salaries after Nerve story

November 23, 2020

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT Less than three hours after The Nerve revealed Friday that the S.C. Judicial Department was keeping secret the salaries of department employees making at least $50,000 annually, the agency released a list of 300 staffers in that group, including judges. Department public information director Ginny Jones provided the list without explanation […]

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State court system keeps staff salaries secret from the public

November 20, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Judicial Department – the third branch of state government – is refusing to publicly reveal salaries of its own employees, contending it isn’t legally required to do so. The Nerve on Oct. 18 submitted a request to the department under the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking for the […]

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As South Carolinians’ income shrinks, state agency surpluses grow

September 3, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce started fiscal 2021 with a $103.1 million general-fund surplus – more than double its reserves from a year ago. The S.C. House of Representatives had a $23.7 million surplus as of July 1 for its 124-member chamber – nearly $1 million more than its entire budget, records […]

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Lawyer-lawmakers largely control who becomes a judge in SC. Here’s their latest power play

February 21, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Ten S.C. House members who are lawyers are pushing legislation to create two circuit and two family court seats – and several of the bill’s co-sponsors would play large roles in who gets nominated to those positions. The lead sponsor of the bill is House speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, an attorney who […]

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