Who's Spying On Segars-Andrews Suppo...

Who's Spying On Segars-Andrews Supporters?

Posted in the Charleston Forum


Union, SC

#1 Dec 11, 2009

Those controlling the screening process for 9th Circuit Family Court Judge F.P. "Charlie" Segars-Andrews are keeping quiet until her case is settled in the coming weeks.

The state's Judicial Merit Selection Commission has refused to disclose e-mails sent to or between its members regarding her controversial case.

The Post and Courier sought the e-mails under the state's Freedom of Information Act, but the commission's chief counsel, Jane Shuler, said this week that they are exempt from public disclosure for three separate reasons. The reasons include: the state law creating the commission exempts them from disclosure; it would violate attorney-client relationships; and correspondence and working papers of the Legislature are exempt.

Jay Bender, an attorney for the S.C. Press Association, said the General Assembly made these records confidential because some think that people who might have information relative to a judge candidate's qualifications won't tell the truth if required to state their information publicly.

"I don't believe there should be confidentiality regarding the qualifications of a judicial candidate since there are no confidentiality provisions regarding the qualifications of those who select our judges," Bender said.

As Charleston lawyers began to rally around Segars-Andrews last month, Shuler sent Charleston lawyer Natalie Bluestein a letter asking her to inform Segars-Andrews' backers that it's prohibited to seek pledges from state lawmakers regarding judicial screening -- at least until the commission makes its ruling. Shuler noted that the penalty for violating this state law is up to $1,000 in fines and 90 days in jail.

Six of the commission's 10 members are state lawmakers.

The commission voted 7-3 to find Segars-Andrews unqualified for a new six-year term in the wake of her handling of a Clarendon County divorce case. In that case, she declined to recuse herself, even though she learned at the end of the case that a lawyer for one side had shared in the proceeds from a personal injury case with her husband's law firm. Segars- Andrews' ruling and involvement in the case was upheld by the S.C. Court of Appeals, but she since has said she would not rule that way again.

The commission's decision won't be final until it issues its written report.

Union, SC

#2 Dec 13, 2009
Civil Rights

United States

#3 Dec 16, 2009
SLED's lowcountry region team leader crusing in his new $38,000.00 state owned Chevy Tahoe checking them out.

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