GREENWOOD, SC – Greenwood Magistrate Judge Walter Rutledge Martin received a public reprimand by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) for an inappropriate comment made to a defendant while in bond court.
According to documents from the South Carolina Supreme Court, Martin made an inappropriate comment to a defendant on March 7th. The documents state that one of the defendants questioned the bond that Martin set. Martin became upset with the defendant and asked the defendant whether he was calling Martin a liar. When the defendant responded, "[n]o, I'm not going anywhere," Martin replied, "[o]kay. Because I'll beat your [expletive] if you call me a liar."
The documents state that Martin immediately apologized for the comment.
Martin told the ODC that he regretted his comments and said that the evening before the incident, his disabled three-year-old son awoke him at 2:00 a.m. and he was unable to go back to sleep for the rest of the night. Martin said that his comment is atypical of his courtroom demeanor and submitted a 2009 letter from the South Carolina Bar's Judicial Qualifications Committee which found him well qualified in the area of judicial temperament.
Martin and the ODC entered into an Agreement for Discipline by Consent. In the agreement, Martin admits misconduct and consents to the imposition of a public reprimand, admonition, or letter of caution.