CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County's longtime bond court judge is stepping down from the bench after 10 years.
Magistrate Linda Lombard is retiring Thursday after a distinguished career in public service.
At age 72, state law says Lombard has to step down.
Lombard was chairman of Charleston County Council in 1989, when Hurricane Hugo approached the Tri-County area.
"If you want to leave the Charleston area, please leave now," Lombard said emphatically on live television as the storm approached. "You cannot delay."
For the past decade, Lombard still was a familiar face on TV from her bench in bond court. It has been up to her to set bond for defendants and decide whether someone goes to jail or goes home.
"I try to be as impartial as possible. That's the key to this job," Lombard says.
She has heard many horror stories.
"You have memories of the bad cases, they never go away from you," Lombard says.
Lombard recalled one funny case in her courtroom involving an accused drug dealer.
"I commented in court, 'You got $1,500,' and I said, "You work or go to school?' He said, 'No I don't.' So I said, 'You got $1,500,' and he said, 'Yeah, that's my tax refund.'"
Lombard says in the last few years she's seen a disturbing trend in her courtroom: an increasing number of young offenders.
"You just see so many young people, 16,17,18,19. It's just if I see somebody over 30, it's surprising," she says.
Now just a couple of days from retirement, Lombard says she's looking forward to the next chapter of her life.
"I said I'm going home for two weeks, watch TV and eat chocolate. There's always some work that has to be done and I'm sure I'll find something.
It will up to Charleston County's Senate delegation to decide who will replace Lombard on the bench.