Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
24889 - In the Matter of Brown

Davis Adv. Sh. No. 4
S.E. 2d



THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court



In the Matter of Harry

C. Brown, Sr., Respondent.



Opinion No. 24889



Submitted January 5, 1999 -Filed January 25, 1999



PUBLIC REPRIMAND



Henry B. Richardson, Jr., of Columbia, Disciplinary Counsel.



Russell Brown, of Charleston, for respondent.







PER CURIAM: In this judicial disciplinary matter, respondent

and disciplinary counsel have entered into an agreement under Rule 21,

RJDE, Rule 502, SCACR. In the agreement, respondent admits misconduct

and consents to a public reprimand. We accept the agreement.





Respondent is a former Probate Judge for the County of Jasper,

South Carolina. From September 12, 1996, through December 18, 1996,

respondent performed 220 marriages. Respondent charged and retained for

his personal use a fee for each marriage. On December 18, 1996, this Court

entered an order privately reprimanding respondent in his capacity as

Probate Judge and ordering him not to personally retain any further

compensation for performing marriages. Respondent was to remit to the

county treasurer any monies received prior to the order or obtained in the

future. Respondent was cautioned in the strongest language not to continue



p.27


IN THE MATTER OF BROWN





the practice of taking compensation for marriages or respondent would be

held in contempt.





From December 18, 1996, through December 7, 1997, respondent

performed 901 marriages. He also charged and retained compensation for

these marriages. In addition, respondent did not remit to the county

treasurer any of the monies obtained before or after the December 18, 1996 order.





On December 18, 1997, this Court issued an order requiring

respondent to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for

violating the December 18, 1996 order. The December 18, 1997 order

appointed the Honorable John W. Kittredge as a referee to take evidence and

make findings of fact and submit a recommendation as to whether

respondent was in contempt of the December 18, 1996 order. Respondent

was also placed on interim suspension from his duties as Probate Judge and

from the practice of law pursuant to Rule 17(b), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR.





The referee held an evidentiary hearing, and thereafter issued

an order recommending that respondent be held in contempt of the

December 18, 1996 order. This Court adopted the referee's finding and

issued an order dated June 4, 1998, holding the respondent in both civil and

criminal contempt. Matter of Brown, S.C. Sup. Ct. Order dated June 4, 1998

(Davis Adv. Sh. No. 21 at 78). Subsequently, respondent resigned from his

duties.





As a result of his conduct, respondent has violated the following:

Rule 7(a)(1)(violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct), Rule 7(a)(2)(willful

violation of a valid order of the Supreme Court), and Rule 7(a)(7)(willful

violation of a valid court order issued by a court of this state), Rules for

Judicial Disciplinary Enforcement, Rule 502, SCACR; Canon l(A)(failure to

maintain and observe the high standards of conduct to preserve the

independence and integrity of the judiciary), Canon 2(A)(failure to respect

and comply with the law, and failure to conduct himself in a manner that

promotes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary), Canon

2(B)(failure to prevent familial, social, political, or other relationships from

exercising influence in the judge's judicial conduct or judgment, lending of

the prestige of his judicial office for the private interests of himself or others),

Canon 3(A)(failure to give judicial duties precedence over the judge's other

activities), Canon 3(B)(2)(failure to be faithful to the law and maintain



p.28


IN THE MATTER OF BROWN





professional competence in it), Canon 4(A)(3)(failure to prevent his extra-

judicial activities from interfering with the proper performance of judicial

activities), Canon 4(D)(1)(a)(engaging in financial and business dealings that

may be reasonably be perceived as exploitive of his office), and Canon

4(H)(1)(receiving compensation that gives the appearance of impropriety), of

the Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 501, SCACR; Rule 7(a)(1)(violating the

Rules of Professional Conduct), Rule (3)(willfully violating a valid order of

the Supreme Court), and Rule (7)(willfully violating a valid court order from

this state or another jurisdiction) of the Rules of Lawyer Discipline

Enforcement, Rule 413, SCACR; and Rule 8.4(a)(violating the Rules of

Professional Conduct), Rule 8.4(b)(commission of a criminal act that

adversely reflects on a lawyer's fitness), Rule 8.4(c)(engaging in

conduct involving moral turpitude), Rule 8.4(d)(engaging in conduct involving

dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), Rule 8.4(e)(engaging in

conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice), and Rule

8.4(g)(knowingly assisting a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a

violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law), of the Rules of

Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR.





Because respondent is no longer a judge and because he has

agreed not to hereafter seek or accept any judicial position within the State

of South Carolina unless first authorized to do so by this Court, we have

decided to accept the agreement for a public reprimand. Accordingly,

respondent is hereby publicly reprimanded for his conduct.



PUBLIC REPRIMAND.





p.29