Magistrate judge’s duties restricted after DUI arrest

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 2:11 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2022 at 1:12 PM EDT
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A Magistrate judge in Colleton County cannot preside over criminal proceedings pending the outcome of a DUI charge, a state supreme court judge ordered on Tuesday.

Chief Justice Donald Beatty made the decision, writing on July 26: “I find it necessary to limit the judicial activity of Colleton County Magistrate Kenneth A. Campbell as a result of his recent arrest on a summary court level criminal charge.”

Court records show Walterboro police arrested Campbell on July 17, 2022, for driving under the influence with less than .10 blood alcohol content.

A brief report from Walterboro police states Cpl. William Riley was conducting routine patrol in the area of Green Pond Highway and noticed a Black GMC Sierra Truck swerving.

It is listed as a first offense DUI on the public index, however, an initial holding charge listed it as a second offense DUI for less than a .16 BAC. A second offense carries more severe punishment, with up to $5,100 in fines, one year of prison and license suspension versus a first offense with only up to $400 in fines and no more than 30 days in prison and a license suspension for six months.

Campbell was released on a personal recognizance bond for less than $1,000.

A jury trial has also been requested.

The Supreme Court’s order only allows for Campbell to preside over civil proceedings while his case proceeds.

Former South Carolina governor Carroll A. Campbell first appointed Judge Campbell to Magistrate in 1989, and the Senate confirmed his appointment the following January.

He was most recently re-appointed this past spring. His term is set to expire in April 2026, according to the South Carolina Judicial Branch.

Magistrate judges are appointed by the Governor, with the advice of the Senate, for four-year terms. Their responsibilities include setting bail, conducting preliminary hearings and issuing arrest and search warrants.

They may oversee criminal trials where penalties for the offenses at hand do not exceed more than $500 in fines or 30 days in prison as well as civil trials where the amount in question is no more than $7,500.

Campbell has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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