Judicial Betrayal

We Expect Judges to Uphold the Law

Corruption on the
Bench

This harrowing saga would not have been possible were it not for a few corrupt judges and their cohorts using their power to abuse citizens’ trust for their own personal enrichment.

Nominees Reviewed by Secret Citizen Group

The Upstate Citizens Committee is supposed to be an impartial “grass-roots” body for judicial nominee review. The idea was a good one, until state politicians got involved

Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC)

This committee is supposed to hear citizen complaints and weigh the merits in an impartial manner. Instead, the process is deeply flawed by conflicts of interest

State Legislature

State representatives are expected to be the last line of defense for citizens. Instead, wave after wave of noxious behavior is constantly making headlines. Is it time to remove temptation from lawyers policing the bench?

Citizens in South Carolina do not directly elect their judges. In fact, South Carolina is just one of two states in the entire country that allows the state legislature to appoint and re-elect judges.

Now imagine that a lawyer sitting in the State Legislature also maintains a private practice, as many do today. That means the people responsible for overseeing the process are picking the judges that will hear their own private practice cases.

This creates a quid-pro-quo situation where members of the legislature cannot be impartial and yet, they do not recuse themselves from voting for these justices. What could possibly go wrong?

Here is what South Carolina expects for judicial conduct:
Judge Edward Ned Miller
Judge Edward “Ned” Miller

Judge Miller was allowed to pass the Judiciary Committee in Nov 2020 despite numerous complaints from colleagues, attorneys, and taxpayers.

Members of the public testified against Judge Miller at this hearing alleging felony level transgressions corroborated by South Carolina’s own court records.

The judicial committee ignored these serious allegations and were shown coaching Miller through his answers and approved Miller for re-election without providing the allegations and documentation to the legislature prior to the vote.

S.C. Representative Jonathan Hill spoke out concerning the election of Judge Edward “Ned” Miller.
Source: MyrtleBeach SC

On November 18, 2020, citizens gathered at the hearing asking the committee to bar Judge Miller from consideration for re-election. These citizens were accompanied by over 147 complaints against Judge Miller, most from his peers citing his apparent bias, demeanor and other concerns.

None of these complaints nor prior public articles, nor South Carolina’s own court records were provided to State Representatives prior to the vote to re-elect Judge Miller.

  • “The majority of ballot box concerns indicated that you have a poor — the majority of ballot box concerns indicated that you have poor judicial temperament, and that you often exhibit a lack of patience and a sense of frustration, and you can be at times callous and uncaring..”

“Also, this — it wasn’t shown at that hearing, but I did make the complaint about the warrant that was issued, was issued in the time frame that the case was under appeal from the Court of Appeals in South Carolina. I also had the order and the remittance showing when it was dismissed in my exhibits, okay? Therefore, that is an illegal bench warrant because the case was under appeal. He had no jurisdiction to go into anything — a hearing or anything. And therefore, the bench warrant was illegal. And that’s in my documentations also.”

Testimony of Ricky Bryant to Chairman Rankin, November 2020
·ANDREW N. SAFRAN, a workers compensation attorney, violates committee rules in leading Judge Miller and grossly distorts the role of the committee and his duties as a reviewing member of Judge Miller

Here is the official transcript of testimony given during Judge Miller’s re-election vote on February 3, 2020. Note that J. Todd Rutherford (D) Richland is also an attorney and member of the South Carolina bar. Rutherford also serves on the Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) along with his close ally, Senator Luke Rankin. Rutherford never asked a question of Judge Miller or the witnesses during the November hearing.

Andrew Safran did speak up – to coach Judge Miller on his answers. Safran also went so far as to downplay the seriousness of the role of the committee, grossly misstating the purpose of their work, and violating his own oath to serve the people of South Carolina.

Not a single memeber of the South Carolina legislature who is an attorney and member of the state bar dared vote against the wishes of Chairman Rankin.
It is a felony crime to issue a ruling on a case under appeal and not yet heard. This is a civil rights violation. Court records clearly show Judge Miller committed a crime.
Luke Rankin, Senate judiciary chair
Rankin is responsible for preventing unqualified or poor character judicial nominees from passing through committee though he is currently being investigated for impropriety and allegations of fraud.

Allegations of conflict of interest in policy proposals:

  • Rankin was a lead sponsor of the now-infamous, constitutionally dubious “Base Load Review Act” – which put Palmetto State ratepayers on the hook for billions of dollars in construction costs related to the failed NukeGate project.  That project was supposed to put a pair of next generation nuclear reactors in Jenkinsville, S.C. in 2016 and 2017. The money was spent, but the reactors were never finished.
  • Judge Bromell Holmes is another Family Court Judge ardently defended by Senator Rankin. Rankin leveraged her court decision as campaign material for his Senate primary in June 2020. Afterwards, Mrs. Holmes was removed from that very case for cause.
Families torn apart by miscarriage of justice

Senate Members & Attorneys

Karl B. Allen (D) Greenville
George E. “Chip” Campsen III (R) Charleston
Tom Davis (R) Beaufort
Stephen L. Goldfinch (R) Georgetown
Greg Hembree (R) Horry
Brad Hutto (D) Orangeburg
Marlon E. Kimpson (D) Charleston
Gerald Malloy (D) Darlington
A. Shane Massey (R) Edgefield
Margie Bright Matthews (D) Colleton
J. Thomas McElveen III (D) Sumter
Luke A. Rankin (R) Horry
Ronnie A. Sabb (D) Williamsburg
Sandy Senn (R) Charleston
Nikki G. Setzler (D) Lexington
Vincent A. Sheheen (D) Kershaw
Scott Talley (R) Spartanburg
William Timmons (R) Greenville
Tom Young Jr. (R) Aiken

House Members & Attorneys
Todd K. Atwater (R) Lexington
Justin T. Bamberg (D) Bamberg
Bruce W. Bannister (R) Greenville
Beth E. Bernstein (D) Richland
Micajah P. “Micah” Caskey IV (R) Lexington
Gary E. Clary (R) Pickens
Alan D. Clemmons (R) Horry
J. Derham Cole Jr. (R) Spartanburg
Neal A. Collins (R) Pickens
F. Gregory “Greg” Delleney Jr. (R) Chester
Jason Elliott (R) Greenville
Russell W. Fry (R) Horry
Laurie Slade Funderburk (D) Kershaw
Christopher R. “Chris” Hart (D) Richland
Rosalyn D. Henderson-Myers (D) Spartanburg
Jeffrey E. “Jeff” Johnson (R) Horry
Wallace H. “Jay” Jordan Jr. (R) Florence
James H. “Jay” Lucas (R) Darlington
Peter M. McCoy Jr. (R) Charleston
John R. McCravy III (R) Greenwood
Cezar E. McKnight (D) Williamsburg
Christopher J. “Chris” Murphy (R) Dorchester
Wm. Weston J. Newton (R) Beaufort
Mandy Powers Norrell (D) Lancaster
Marvin R. Pendarvis (D) Charleston
Thomas E. “Tommy” Pope (R) York
J. Todd Rutherford (D) Richland
G. Murrell Smith Jr. (R) Sumter
James E. Smith Jr. (D) Richland
Leonidas E. “Leon” Stavrinakis (D) Charleston
J. David Weeks (D) Sumter
William W. “Will” Wheeler III (D) Lee

judgemillercommittedacrime
Ricky Bryant’s sworn testimony in 2014. He was not permitted to provide documentation at the hearing even though his evidence was the court’s own records, including time stamps and case schedules. The official testimony is here.

NEW! Just released Ombudsman investigation