The judge who oversaw a bond hearing for a man accused of fatally shooting nine people at a historic black church in Charleston was previously reprimanded for using a racial slur while on the bench but that isn’t why he’s being removed from the case.
It’s simply standard protocol.
Circuit judges — not magistrates — oversee criminal trials in South Carolina. That’s why Circuit Court Judge J.C. Nicholson will be presiding over the trial.
Charleston County Magistrate James Gosnell Jr., who presided over confessed gunman Dylann Roof‘s bond hearing on Friday, made the aforementioned comments in a courtroom over a decade ago.
Gosnell was reprimanded by the state Supreme Court in 2005 for telling a black defendant in 2003, “There are four kinds of people in this world: black people, white people, rednecks, and n******.”
According to a disciplinary order posted by the court about Gosnell’s choice of language, the judge claimed he was quoting a statement made to him by a veteran black sheriff’s deputy. He said he repeated the statement to the defendant in a poorly executed attempt to encourage him to change the path he had chosen for his life.
Gosnell also said that he personally knew the defendant, as well as the defendant’s father and grandfather.
Lionel Lofton, Gosnell’s longtime lawyer, downplayed the incident, telling NBC News that the national media was trying to make a big deal out of something that happened 13 years ago. He added that Gosnell was disciplined by the court for it, and said it’s now a “non-issue.”
What do you think about this decision to remove him? Leave your comments below.
H/T – NY Daily News