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Edgefield County, South Carolina

September 16, 2005

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EDITORIAL

Judge Williams blew it

Editorial

web posted September 16, 2005

Magistrates Court is the “common man’s court”. It is a local system of the judiciary where smaller crimes and disputes are settled in a less intimidating setting. It is still court, and the rules of court apply, but generally it is understood by Magistrates that the people before them are not lawyers and may not be familiar with the laws and give a lot of consideration to that fact.

Edgefield Daily.com follows our courts on a regular basis and will say that Edgefield County Magistrates Brenda Carpenter and Davis Parkman are very good at allowing a great deal of leniency in accommodating the local residents who find themselves, at one time or another, in Magistrate’s Court.

The same cannot be said about Greenwood County Magistrate Williams. She obviously likes lawyers who can come in and undermine the tried practices of Edgefield County Magistrate’s Court and leave the victim of an alleged crime completely helpless.

The Sheriff’s Department investigated the alleged crime. They presented the findings to the local Magistrate. They felt there was enough evidence to issue Mrs. Ryan a warrant for the arrest of Mrs. Presnell. Chief Magistrate Davis Parkman instructed Chief Investigator Randy Doran to prosecute the case.

Mrs. Ryan did not hire an attorney when she learned Investigator Doran was handling the case. Being the diligent investigator Lt. Doran had his case and evidence ready for trial. However, a motion by a lawyer was all it took to tilt the scales in the direction of a lawyer, not the common man. Lt. Doran was removed from the case.

Further pushing the point of not wanting to be “blindsided” by a surprise witness, the defense lawyer asked to have the last remaining help Mrs. Ryan had to prove the case, her witness, removed. Over the objection of the laymen plaintiff in the “common man’s court” Judge Williams agreed with the lawyer, not the “common man”.

In the end, the victim of the alleged crime, who had watched as fancy lawyering and an out of town judge put the victim of an alleged crime in jail for actually being the one blindsided when the trial got started.

We can understand Dianne Ryan’s frustration.

We were rather frustrated with the actions of both the judge and the lawyer. Lt. Randy Doran was frustrated as well. Mrs. Ryan’s witness was in tears asking, “how can they do this?”. Mrs. Ryan said she was going to appeal the case as she rightly should. We do not know if the charges against Susan Presnell are true or not, but until a fair trial can be held we won’t ever know.

What happened in that courtroom under the direction of Judge Williams was not anything remotely resembling fair in the “common man’s court.”

It is interesting to note that the Edgefield County Investigators had just attended a class days before on how to prosecute their cases. Let’s hope Judge Williams doesn’t oversee a child molestation case prosecuted by CDV Investigator Robin Newton. That could leave a child having to try the case against the adult molester with a fancy lawyer.

Yes, a fine precedent has been set by Judge Williams. Let’s hope she took it with her as she drove out of the county.







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