SC Circuit Judge Lee faces roadblocks in becoming federal judge - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

SC Circuit Judge Lee faces roadblocks in becoming federal judge

South Carolina Circuit Judge Alison Lee turned in 45 pages of information to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee after she was nominated to become a federal judge.

That submission featured a summary of 16 cited cases she had overseen that led to her decision being reversed or criticized by higher courts. However, there are those who say her actions in a pair of bond reduction hearings a year ago may have really hindered her opportunity to secure a spot to become a federal judge.

"The positions against Judge Lee are because she was acting constitutionally," attorney Nathaniel Roberson said. "And it is unfair for them to try to deprive her of doing what the constitution requires and that is all defendants have a right to reasonable bail."

Columbia attorney Robert Rikard believes Lee is a careful, detail-oriented jurist.

"She's very methodical," Rikard began. "Some might say a little too methodical. But she's always been fair and I've been on the winning side of her and the losing side of her. I enjoyed being in front of her. Because I know she's one of those judges that you know is always going to follow the law. And that's what you want a judge to do."

Lee's nomination had been stalled after U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee member Lindsey Graham expressed reservations about Lee's track record. Sen. Tim Scott also issued a statement opposing the nomination of the Midlands judge to the federal court

Lee's decision to lower the bond of 18-year-old burglary suspect Lorenzo Young, who was later identified following his release as one of the suspects in the murder of bakery worker and mother Kelly Hunnewell.

A few weeks later, Lee also lowered the bail for Dequan Vereen. The 18-year-old Vereen was later connected to the killing of a Richland County man.

Roberson says, while those incidents are regrettable, it is impossible for any judge to see into the future.

"If you're going to isolate two cases where the judge does what the constitution requires her to do and then try to, for the lack of a better word, punish her for that," Roberson said, "then that's a compliment to her being an independent member of the judiciary."

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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