SC Supreme Court Replaces Magistrate

     (CN) – The South Carolina Supreme Court replaced Charleston County’s chief magistrate Thursday, less than a week after he presided over the bond hearing for Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
     Chief Magistrate James Gosnell opened that high-profile hearing on June 19 with what have since construed as inappropriate comments.
     “Charleston is a very strong community. We have big hearts. We’re a very loving community. And we are going to reach out to everyone, all victims, and we will touch them,” Gosnell said.
     What raised many eyebrows, however, was the sympathy Gosnell expressed for Roof’s family, loved one’s of the alleged murderer’s victims looked on.
     “We have victims, nine of them. But we also have victims on the other side,” the magistrate said. “There are victims on this young man’s side of the family. Nobody would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they have been thrown into. We must find it in our heart at some point in time, not only to help those that are victims, but to help his family as well.”
     In the wake of the local controversy that ensued. several media outlets reported that Gosnell had been reprimanded by the state Supreme Court for advising a black defendant in a Nov. 6, 2003, bond reduction hearing, that there are “four kinds of people in this world-black people, white people, red necks, and n—rs.”
     On Wednesday, South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal appointed Charleston County Associate Chief Magistrate Ellen Steinberg to chief judge for administrative purposes of the summary courts for Charleston County.
     Toal’s order also named Magistrate Leroy Linen as associate chief judge for administrative purposes of the summary courts for Charleston County.
     Terms of chief magistrates run for six months and Gosnell’s was set to expire on June 30. He will continue to serve as a magistrate judge in the country.
     A spokeswoman for the state Supreme Court said it is not uncommon for a magistrate to be replaced before his or her term has ended.
     As for the Roof case, Gosnell’s role was already over. By law he was not empowered to set bail on the nine murder charges against the 21 year old Lexington County, S.C. resident. He did however set a bond of $1 million on the one gun possession charge the alleged gunman faces.
     Charleston County Circuit Court Judge J.C. Nicholson will preside over Roof’s criminal case on the state charges.

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