POLITICS: Alan Wilson asks Donald Beatty to recuse himself from criminal cases

Posted by ADAM BEAM on December 20, 2013 

Justice Donald Beatty questions the lawyers representing eight South Carolina school districts who went before the state Supreme Court Tuesday to ask the court to determine whether the state legislature is meeting its constitutional obligation to deliver a minimally adequate education to all students.

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

— Attorney General Alan Wilson has asked SC Supreme Court Justice Donald Beatty to recuse himself from criminal cases "as part of the fallout of comments the judge made during a speech earlier this year," reports The State's Noelle Phillips.

From her story:

Wilson sent the letter to 13 solicitors, who have complained about comments Beatty made during their annual conference. The letter, sent on Dec. 12, cites case law that Wilson said he will use to seek Beatty’s recusal. He also said he will support solicitors who ask Beatty to recuse himself from any disciplinary hearings for attorneys on their staffs.

“Accordingly, with these legal principals in mind, based upon Justice Beatty’s remarks, we will seek his recusal in any specific case where warranted under the law,” Wilson wrote.

Wilson closed the letter by saying, “In summary, while we believe that Justice Beatty is a fine man and dedicated jurist, the Solicitors were correct to question his intemperate remarks, and we agree with you that many of the remarks were inappropriate.”

Lawmakers asked S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal about Beatty's comments last month during a public hearing vetting Toal for reelection. Here's what she said:

"I am not of the view of anybody on the Supreme Court that we have prejudged anything by way of legislation coming forward with respect to the management of General Sessions docket. I’m aware of the controversy of course Mr. Vice Chairman, I can only tell you I believe the court would treat any legislative enactment with the same fairness and objectivity with every decision we make. I believe my brothers and sister on the court would join me in saying just that."

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service