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11/9/2012 2:27:00 PM
Greenwood Magistrate Judge reprimanded

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.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012
Article comment by: Kent McManus

Any judge that acts the way he did in a courtroom should be sentenced like a plantiff would have been if he had threatened a judge.

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: Bill J

After witnessing how Judge Martin dealt with someone on a simple civil case this past year, this doesn't surprise me. He was rude and careless in his judgment. The defendant was never given an opportunity to speak one word in his defense. No one is above the law and in my opinion the punishment doesn't fit the crime. This kind of behavior and attitude starts with Judges and trickles down to officers as they deal with Greenwood county citizens.

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: Kenn Wiltshire

I have known Judge Martin both professionally and personally for many years and Honorable truly fits him. He has explained his actions and has accepted his reprimand like a true Southern Gentleman. Those who comment should try walking in any Judges shoes for a day.

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Article comment by: CORRETTA DANSBY

Well I work with detainees everyday and I get to see how long they sit for threatening a public official and how high the bonds are set so I don't think the judge should get to get off that easy with an apology because some of those detainees were going thru the same thing but not once was that taken into consideration. Also most of the threats are out of anger and mean nothing at all. So the judge needs to be punished. We lead by example. That was a bad one.

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: linda childs

This man has defendant's lives in his hand. He cannot afford to let his personal life interfere with his judicial duty to be impartial. He cannot use the excuse of his child. Many defendants have lives that are just as difficult but that carries no weight in the court room. He should be given a suspension from the bench for a period of time.

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