(Last updated March 6, 2005)

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South Carolina Hall of Shame!  p1

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South Carolina

Debbie Elsner received a summons for jury duty from the Horry County Court in Conway, South Carolina last July (2004).  Debbie requested to be excused from jury because she is the sole caregiver for her frail 90-year-old mother

In her request, she cited provisions from recently passed legislation (HB 3460/ACT 228), that allows jurors to be excused for good cause if they are a person who is the primary caretaker of a person aged sixty-five or older


The Horry County Court, disregarded the new law, and did not excuse Debbie. 

Instead, the court required her to appear before the judge and explain her situation.

(Her mother’s physician even faxed the court recommending that Debbie be excused in order to tend to her mother).  Having to appear before the judge was very worrisome and difficult for Debbie since it took her away from her mother for several hours. 

There was no way Debbie’s elderly mother could contact her since cell-phones were not allowed in the courtroom.  This kind of cruel disregard for her situation made Debbie feel more like a criminal than a prospective juror.


The judge only deferred Debbie until December, which is inexcusable because Governor Sanford had already signed HB 3460 into law on May 11, 2004.  But even before December arrived, Debbie received another summons for November 1, 2004.  This time Debbie filled out an affidavit, stating all the particulars of her care giving duties, notarized it, and sent it to the Horry County Court, along with a copy of the doctor’s fax from July.  In addition, she sent a letter to the Governor’s office letting them know that the Horry County Court was not obeying the law.


Although her affidavit was acknowledged via phone as received by the clerk of the court, the clerk insisted that Debbie appear before the judge to ask for an exemption anyway. 

The Governor’s office also called on Debbie’s behalf, but they got nowhere with the local court system. 


Once again, Debbie sat through the entire procedure that took well over an hour. 

The same judge saw Debbie again, and STILL did not exempt her!   Instead, the judge deferred her duty for *another* 6 months. 

This callous judge behaved like a stubborn jackass! 


He ignored:

1.        A notarized affidavit

2.        A copy of the law with date of signature from the State website

3.        Three attorneys in the courtroom telling him about the new law

4.        The Governor of South Carolina

Hall of Shame!












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