Judge Danny Pieper was born in Charleston, South Carolina. His parents are Marion A. Pieper, Sr., and Simone Pieper.
Desirous of staying in his hometown area, he enrolled at the College of Charleston where he was graduated one year early with a Business Administration degree in 1982. He began his education in law at the University of South Carolina School of Law. He was elected as student government representative in his first year class and was graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree in 1984. Having completed his Juris Doctorate program early, Judge Pieper furthered his legal education at New York University Law School, from which school he was awarded an LL.M. degree in Taxation. Judge Pieper also enrolled in the M.B.A. program at the Citadel.
Judge Pieper began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert S. Carr at the federal court, and then continued his federal court position while serving for the Honorable Sol Blatt, Jr.; he considers both of these outstanding federal jurists as his mentors. He then formed a private law practice with a high school friend. He has been a member of his local bar associations, the S.C. Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. He has been admitted to practice in all South Carolina courts, the United States District Court, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 1989, he was elected to serve as a Magistrate and is a lifetime member of the Summary Court Judges' Association. As Chief Magistrate, Judge Pieper assumed administrative oversight and responsibilities for 16 different magistrate offices, the employees in each office, and the budget. He helped train all judges and staff and created many forms to assist the judges in the performance of their duties. He also served on a county Magistrates' Advisory Committee which made recommendations to county government officials for the improvement of the local system, resulting in great savings of public tax dollars for the county. Judge Pieper also convinced the county to create a central magistrate court which not only provided greater efficiency for the courts, but also provided greater public access and greater efficiency for local law enforcement.
In 1993, Judge Pieper was elected by the General Assembly to the position of Master-in-Equity in the Ninth Judicial Circuit. Soon after his appointment, the Chief Justice designated Judge Pieper as a Special Circuit Judge whereby he regularly presided over additional civil and criminal cases and proceedings, all appeals from lower courts and administrative agencies, as well as grand jury matters. He continued serving as Master-in-Equity and Special Circuit Judge until May 22, 1996; on that date, he was elected Resident Circuit Judge of the Ninth Circuit and continued in that role until he started his appellate judgeship. While serving as circuit judge, Judge Pieper’s great interest in computer technology led him to preside over the creation of an online chat room for docket meetings to save travel time for counsel. He also sought first in the state permission from the Chief Justice to utilize computer technology to generate the required “Form 4” document in each civil case which resulted in substantial savings to the Clerk of Court. Similarly, his suggested changes in jury selection procedures utilized by the Clerk of Court resulted in $100,000 dollars in savings the first year alone. He also presided over the first state court summary jury trial, having previously been exposed to the very first summary jury trial ever in this State which was presided over by Judge Blatt in federal court. The local summary trial system has now become a model program for others nationwide. Judge Pieper gives great credit to attorney Sam Clawson and those attorneys thereafter who pushed this effective idea and tool.
On May 23, 2007, Judge Pieper was elected as Judge of the S.C. Court of Appeals and performed the duties of both circuit and appellate judge until November 2007, at which time he fully assumed his duties as appellate judge. He presently remains in that position. Judge Pieper jokes that a coalition of many different individuals and personalities led him to that appellate position similar to that required for his great great grandfather to win the position of Mayor of Charleston in the late 1800’s.
Judge Pieper has been selected by the Chief Justice to serve on an advisory committee for the Statewide Judicial System Technology Project as well as a Blue Ribbon Committee to improve the operation of the court system. He also coordinates a regular "Tips from the Bench" seminar for the S.C. Bar and served on the Advisory Board for a master's degree program in bilingual legal interpretation at the College of Charleston, which is the first of its kind in the nation. Judge Pieper is greatly interested in legal education and serves as Adjunct Professor of Law at the Charleston School of Law teaching courses in criminal law, advanced criminal law and equitable remedies. In this same regard, he was appointed by the Supreme Court to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.