Former Carolina Panthers football player Michael Scurlock of Fort Mill has been nominated to be a York County magistrate judge.
Scurlock, 44, played five seasons in the NFL, ending his career in Charlotte with the Panthers in 2000. After retiring from football, Scurlock was a York County Sheriff’s Office deputy, handling public information and other duties, before resigning when he planned a run for sheriff in 2016.
“I am honored to be nominated to serve the people of York County,” Scurlock said of his nomination to the bench. “I thank Senator Climer and others for nominating me.”
State Sen. Wes Climer, R-Rock Hill, sent Scurlock’s nomination to Gov. Henry McMaster.
“Michael Scurlock is a person we all will be proud to have as a magistrate in York County and South Carolina,” Climer said.
Scurlock left the sheriff’s race in spring 2016 where he hoped to run as an independent after not getting enough signatures to get on the ballot as a write-in candidate.
If Scurlock is approved to go along with the expected approval of Chisa Putman as a York County magistrate by the full Senate, both positions in York County will be filled by black judges. Several York County black leaders complained in summer 2016 about the lack of diversity and ability to move up on the magistrate bench.
Late last year, Scurlock gained local and national attention as a friend of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Brently Vinson who shot Keith Lamont Scott during an incident where Vinson was vindicated by prosecutors. Scurlock urged the public to be patient with the judicial system at that time and allow the system to work properly to seek justice.
Scurlock graduated from the University of Arizona. Magistrates appointed since 2005 in South Carolina have to be a college graduate but are not required to be lawyers.
State senators in South Carolina recommend all magistrates to the governor, who then officially makes appointments to the magistrate bench after consent of the full senate. Although the senate confirms magistrates, other York County legislative leaders including Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, the majority leader of the S.C. House of Representatives, said that Scurlock will make a fine judge.
York County has 11 magistrates who handle misdemeanor criminal court and civil court. Magistrates set bonds, issue arrest and search warrants, preside over preliminary hearings, and other functions. Scurlock likely would be assigned to the court in York at the Moss Justice Center.