In a prior disciplinary action, the respondent-judge promised not to make reference to his court or to post fundraising information on Facebook or any other social media, yet respondent restored the reference in his Facebook profile identifying himself as a probate judge with the Oconee County Probate Court and again used social media for fundraising purposes. Moreover, via a certification submitted to the Superior Court of New Jersey, respondent advocated as a character witness for a South Carolina resident in New Jersey litigation.
Respondent has violated Canon 2(B) (prohibiting the use of the prestige of judicial office to advance interests of the judge or others), Canon 4(C)(3)(b)(iv) (prohibiting a judge from personally participating in the solicitation of funds or other fundraising activities), Canon 1 (requiring a judge to uphold integrity and independence of the judiciary), Canon 2 (requiring a judge to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety) and Canon 2(B) (prohibiting a judge from testifying voluntarily as a character witness). In light of respondent’s prior misconduct, we suspend him from office for 18 months.
In re Johns (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-062-21, 4 pp.) (Per curiam) John Nichols and Carey Taylor Markel for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel; Larry Brandt for respondent. S.C. S. Ct.