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Judicial system doesn't fail: It's the people in it

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By The Staff

Susan Johnson’s June 13 letter, “Judicial system has to follow through,” is factually incorrect.

She states that the solicitor said the person arrested for dealing drugs was never prosecuted. The solicitor is a part of the executive branch of government – not judicial. Whether or not to prosecute a case is in the sole discretion of the elected solicitor – not the judge.

To state that the judicial system fails in this particular situation is completely incorrect. The judge, and since it was a criminal case, the circuit court judge had nothing to do with the prosecution or non-prosecution of this matter.

For example, probation and parole agents work and appear in the courtroom. But they are not a part of the judicial branch of government. They are under the excutive branch. If a probation agent failed to properly supervise a probationer, who harmed someone while on probation, this would not be the judicial system failing.

Having said that, I, for more than 20 years, had the opportunity – both as a judge and attorney – to observe Solicitor Doug Barfield. I can – without reservation – say that he is one of the most ethical, hard-working and straight prosecutors, and person, that I came into contact within these capacities.

As a circuit court judge, I tried cases in almost every county and before almost every solicitor in this state and I will tell you now that Barfield is the best of the best.

I don’t know the circumstances of this specific case, but I would suspect that all is not being told. I am certain, subject to any ethical restrictions preventing otherwise, that Barfield will respond to such a statement that “he could not explain why this case slipped through the cracks.”

Cases that have never been prosecuted can be prosecuted because, until double jeopardy attaches, nothing prevents the case from being re-indicted and prosecuted. There is no statute of limitations on criminal matters in the state of South Carolina.

Finally, the judicial system does not fail you, only the people in it. I gladly place my confidence and trust in Barfield, based on my knowledge and observations of him over the years.

The people of our county and state need to have faith and trust in our judicial system since it is what represents the rights and proctection of evey man, woman and child from tyrants, over-zealous persons, the rich and powerful and those which have unequal positions. In other words, all come into our courts equally.

Sometimes it appears that it fails, but I would submit that it is not the judicial system that failed, but those in it who have failed to honor it and the oath they took.

The scales of justice are evenly balanced and our lady of justice is blind as to those who appear before her.

When people are treated otherwise, it is not the system, but the people we have placed in the system that have failed.