Municipal judge put on trial, ordered to pay fine

Published: Dec. 30, 2016 at 4:33 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2016 at 12:19 PM EST
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A Midlands judge was in court on Thursday, but not on the bench. In fact, she was defending herself against charges from the Town of Lexington.
The judge is Shirley Sons who is listed as Chief Judge in the town of Swansea. She's also served as a magistrate in Lexington County.
In Lexington on Thursday, her role in the courtroom was that of defendant. She was facing two charges from the Town of Lexington of violating zoning rules.
Sons was charged with having storage containers on her residential property on Dreher Street and allowing her property to be used for commercial purposes. That included having vehicles from a HVAC and tree service companies parked there overnight.
Testimony for the town came in part from some of the judge's own family members. After a couple of hours of testimony, Magistrate Brian Buck found Sons guilty on one count of having a business on residential property. The penalty was a $258 dollar fine.
“It's a very sad situation for everybody involved. Both sides. I don't really know what precipitated all of it, but it's been very difficult for everybody involved. And certainly a shame to see families going through stuff like this,” Sons’ attorney Heath Taylor said.
Judge Sons is well known in the Lexington area and at one point tried politics, running unsuccessfully in the 2003 GOP primary against former lawmaker Jake Knotts.

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