Controversial Lowcountry Judge Bentley Price Set to Vacate the Bench Amid Resounding Criticism and Unqualified Rating

Courtroom Justice Dramatization

‘Unqualified’ Lowcountry Judge Bentley Price to Vacate the Bench This Week

Under considerable controversy, Lowcountry Judge Bentley Price is set to vacate his position on the bench at the end of this week. Price’s potential departure surfaces following the South Carolina Bar Association’s assessment of him as unqualified for his role in October 2023, and the subsequent lack of votes required by the South Carolina Judicial Merit Selection Commission for his re-election.

A Line of Accusations

The decision comes amidst numerous allegations associated with Price’s tenure as a circuit court judge. The complaints lodged against him have painted a pattern of questionable rulings and unprofessional courtroom behavior. Victims’ families and local attorneys feel that future proceedings will be more ethically handled and defendants rightly held accountable with the end of Price’s presiding over cases.

Victims’ Families Left Frustrated

Many families devastated by Price’s rulings have found the pending end of his tenure as a relief. They speak of their struggle against what they perceive to be a system sorely lacking in compassion and justice. At the heart of their grievances lies the case of Heath Watkins, who was fatally shot by his roommate in 2020. The prosecution reached a plea deal with the shooter in September 2023 after years of court hearings, which concluded in a significantly reduced sentence.

Alongside this, several other victims’ families have experienced similar frustrations with the lack of severity in Price’s handed out sentences. For instance, when two men were charged with the murder of Marion Grice in 2021 while out on bond, Price granted the bond for their violent crimes, going against the pleas of the victim’s mother. Additionally, Price handed out a lenient sentence for being an accessory to another murder case, much to the dismay of the victim’s widow.

Defense of Price’s Actions

Despite the extensive criticism directed towards Price, he also has a share of supporters. Shaun Kent, a defense attorney, and long-term friend to Price, have previously lauded the judge for his work ethic and commitment. He claims Price’s unpopular decisions resulted merely from his fearlessness in facing tough choices.

The Aftermath of Price’s Departure

While Price’s staff has not responded to requests for commentary, Price’s departure from the bench has raised questions about the future judicial landscape of the Lowcountry. Regardless, those affected by his decision-making during his term are optimistic about the change. Holly Watkins, Heath’s sister, expressed, “You can’t heal; you can’t grieve the loss of your loved one.” Even though the conclusion of Price’s term on the bench will have far-reaching impacts, many, like Watkins, hope this shift will pave the way for a more equitable judiciary system.

Controversial Lowcountry Judge Bentley Price Set to Vacate the Bench Amid Resounding Criticism and Unqualified Rating

Author: HERE Irmo

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