Inside Interview: Kristi Harrington

For the long-awaited resumption of our Inside Interview series, we wanted to mix things up a little bit by looking beyond the usual politicos and taking a look at some of those who seldom get recognized for what they do. This week, our guest is Kristi Harrington, a Deputy Solicitor in Berkeley County.

Why her? For starters, prosecutors work hard. She’s worked in the area of Internet predators, which my father did before he retired from the City of Charleston PD. She’s also a single parent, like myself, who successfully juggles work and her responsibilities to her home.

For those of y'all who don't know, being a single parent is a lot like being married: you have to work, be a parent, and be generally super-responsible. The differences are that you sleep alone at night, and when life gets tough, there’s nobody to back you up or lean on.

My first discussions with her took place on a late Sunday evening, after she’d spent all day at her office, working on cases. That’s dedication, and when you’re the only parent on the home front, a hell of a tough juggling act.

Kristi is a Francis Marion alum who got her law degree at the University of Tulsa. While others went into more lucrative legal professions, her career has been spent as a prosecutor, and she’s also worked as an adjunct professor. This is someone to whom serving others is a passion, and our hats are off to her.

So, like all the other suckers we’ve interviewed, we’re gonna throw some questions at her, and see what she throws back at us:

Tell us, in one paragraph, what made you consider law school?

Because I couldn’t stand the smell of the Gross Anatomy Lab ... in all seriousness, I remember when Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed. It was that day that I decided I wanted to be a judge and to be a judge, you do have to go to law school. I had been surrounded by the law from a young age. My uncle was a Charleston County Deputy and my dad is an attorney. I love to read, immersing myself in law books in my dad’s office. I remember writing a brief and a Motion to demand my father pay me for working in his office: I was 12 years old. The rest is history.

In the next paragraph, tell us why you’ve made your career as a prosecutor?

I started in the DA’s office in Tulsa my first summer of law school. By my second year, I was trying felony jury trials as I was fortunate enough to be involved in the legal internship program. It was then that I realized the thrill and satisfaction of being a prosecutor. Once you experience the adrenaline of jury trials, there is no other occupation that gives as much exhilaration as being in the courtroom.

Most people don’t realize how much private attorneys make, compared to prosecutors. With your experience, you could be making double, triple, or more in private practice? What are the rewards for you?

I cannot easily convey the job satisfaction that I have. How do you put a monetary value on sending a child molester to prison? How do you value the cost of innocence to that child? The ‘rewards’ to me are invaluable. I recently had a discussion with a learned judge. I stated that a prosecutor always gets to do the right thing, whether the right thing is prison or a dismissal. Fortunately, he agreed with me. A prosecutor wields substantial power and must understand that in dealing with all cases. Car wrecks are easily settled, but decisions in my job can literally cost someone his or her life.

From one single parent to another – how do you juggle all the balls of being a parent and working such a consuming job, as well as being active in your community.

I am often asked this question, sometimes not so politely. My first response is I did not choose this, but I did take control of the situation. I feel that having a career makes me a better mother. Being able to provide financially is a necessity, and I feel that balancing work and family gives my son a positive role model. I have to be extremely organized and adept at multi-tasking. I often read cases sitting in the stands while my son practices football. I usually eat lunch at my desk so I can get everything accomplished at work that day. I get up early to make breakfast (my pancakes are legendary) and do a load of laundry. It is not always a piece of cake, but, somehow it all gets done…And, I like to think done well.

Last but not least, your favorite band and/or album of all time is … ?

I don’t have a favorite only because I truly do love all types of music. My musical collection ranges from Abba to Zepplin. Dependent upon my mood, I may need to hear Justin Timberlake (did I hear you groan, Earl) or Mozart. My closest friends would say that Kung Fu Fighting is my “theme song”, but my car CD player is full of Stevie Nicks.

If you'd like to get in touch with Kristi, click here to email her.

39 Response to "Inside Interview: Kristi Harrington"

  1. cook county illinois moye 7/11/07 23:26
    she must be special nothing but respect from me
  2. Spectator 8/11/07 09:28
    Earl, she said Justin Timberlake and you posted her interview anyway? What kind of sacrilege is that?

    Seriously, she seems pretty passionate about her work and I'm sure the people of Berkeley County are well-served by her.

    Maybe she'll run for Solicitor or Sheriff one day? This looks like someone I'd vote for.
  3. Mike Reino 8/11/07 12:32
    I didn't know Kristi worked in the Solicitors ofc. I always thought she was just into politics. No doubt, she is sharp, and she's a bit of a babe too. Sorry.
  4. Anonymous 8/11/07 12:44
    I'm impressed! Kristi, keep up the good work.
  5. Anonymous 8/11/07 13:04
    And she was also one hell of an athlete in high school if I remember correctly she played vollebyball, tennis and basketball at First Baptist!
  6. Anonymous 8/11/07 13:57
    Earl, we think you're trying to pick her up. Maybe you've already got something going with her? Who knows ... you probably wouldn't admit to a conflict of interest anyway.
  7. John 8/11/07 14:04
    As a law enforcement officer in Berkeley County, I have been pleased with the handling of cases by Kristi. She has always provided open communications and discusses cases frankly. Her willingness to speak with officers, regardless of rank, and help them throughout cases has impressed me. She takes the time to educate the officer for future situations while getting the current case handled. Kristi’s common sense approach to prosecution gets the job done, and the citizens of Berkeley County are fortunate to have her on their side.
  8. Earl Capps 8/11/07 14:12
    1357 - nope. Sorry, but it's not what you think at all.

    I'm just trying to give a good public servant some well-deserved publicity. She's earned it.

    Even if her taste in music ... geeezzz ... :)
  9. Anonymous 8/11/07 14:19
    I am in law enforcement and have had the pleasure of working with Kristi on several cases. As a law enforcement officer, when you make an arrest, you always want to know what happens in court with your case. Kristi is one of the only prosecutors that I have ever worked with that always informs you of not only the status of your case but works right along side of you during the duration of that case. She is THE hardest working person I know and deserves only the best. She has not only earned my respect, but the respect of her peers and other law enforcement officers. Good job Kristi, and good luck!
  10. Anonymous 8/11/07 14:48
    Having known Kristi for over 23 years, I have the distinct honor of calling her my best friend!

    Having been a single parent myself for 13 years, I marvel at her determination and desire to achieve her goals not only in her career, but in her personal life and with her son as well.

    She is a true model of the perfect woman!!

    Rock on, Hazel!!
  11. Anonymous 8/11/07 22:03
    there's nobody smarter or harder working in the solicitor's office in berkeley county, period.

    1357 - stop thinking he's such a perv.
  12. Anonymous 9/11/07 09:51
    I have had the pleasure of working with Kristi over the years as a Victims Advocate. I have been a witness to the compassion she shows to the victims that she helps on a daily basis. She always makes herself available even after hours to meet with the victims at their convenience. I find her workmanship impeccable
  13. Anonymous 9/11/07 09:55
    If she ever runs for anything, I'd vote for her, and so should everyone else.
  14. Anonymous 9/11/07 10:19
    I can't think of anyone else I would vote for. She should certainly run for something. Her leadership skills are incredible and make her a great candidate for anything.
  15. Milo 9/11/07 12:14
    Earl, if this chick listened to Motorhead, Judas Priest, WASP, and LA Guns, she'd be perfect for you.

    Alas, she is not true metal, therefore true love can never be.

    But your loss is our gain. Having someone so hardcore fighting to put 'em behind bars, and make sure they stay there is a real asset to Berkeley County.

    You're running a great blog, and she's running great trials. This is coming from someone who has seen both of you in your elements. I appreciate the both of you, and if she ever runs for anything, she's got my vote.
  16. Anonymous 9/11/07 13:20
    She is a fun person and an attractive prosecutor. Good luck on your endeavors
  17. Anonymous 9/11/07 14:00
    In reference to your story on Kristi Harrington, I have met her on several occassions working with her on cases in Berekley County. Ms. Harrington is a very intense, intelligent, and caring solicitor. These are the quailities that will make her a great judge one day.
  18. Woody 9/11/07 14:59
    Being a police officer in Berkeley County, I have had the pleasure of working with Christi on numerous cases. She has always been sincere and up front. Christi is a great prosecutor and an asset to the Solicitor's Office.
  19. Anonymous 9/11/07 16:41
    Kristi has prosecuted a number of cases for me and I have always been impressed with her work ethic. She has always gone the extra mile to assist in any case I’ve been involved in and has always made time to discus a case even if it means coming out after business hours to help. She is well disserving of this recognition and a fine choice for this article/ interview.
  20. Anonymous 9/11/07 17:23
    I have also had the pleasure of having Kristi prosecute some of my cases. It was comforting to know that she was at the helm. Anytime I had a question, she was ready with an answer. She is an asset to the Berkeley County Solicitors Office. Keep up the good work Kristi.
  21. Anonymous 9/11/07 18:30
    I would like to say that Ms. Harrington is the BEST! She came and did an Internet Predator's powerpoint presentatation for our church for over 100 adult and children members. Her presence and sincerity for people was genuinely felt by our pastor, guests and our community. It was so well presented and recieved that our guest wants her to come to their churches to make sure that everyone recieved this much valuable and needed information to protect our children and all our citizens. Her presentation left everyone buzzing of her down to earth way and how much she cares about people.
    Kristi Harrington is the BEST choice for Berkeley County.
    Good Luck, Ms. Harrington; we are honored to have you in our corner.
  22. Mary Ellen 9/11/07 19:45
    I have known Kristi for a year. Wow, she is a sharp lady. Her passion, dedication, and drive makes her great at what she does. I continue to be very impressed by her. What an asset to our community. Thank you for all that you do.
  23. Scrabble Champ 9/11/07 19:57
    I have known Krusty personally for over a year. I have always enjoyed our great debates. It was so nice to meet someone that could argue a side intelligently, even though I still win ;) She never got mad at me when I spilt things on her floor and always there to help clean it up. Thanks Krusty! You seem to not only be great at your job, but you have been a wonderful friend to me and my family. You friendship and dedication is appreciated and I am still looking forward to that scrabble match you promised me. Keep up the good work Krusty! Love ya!
  24. Anonymous 9/11/07 20:12
    It is unfortunate that she chose to focus on her job more and inner office politics less. I only say this because she is one tough noodle and would have made the absolute best choice Mark Sanford could have made to replace Ralph Hoisington!

    She has always placed her job and family first, which in many ways makes her the epitome of the first class prosecutor we need these days!

    Maybe if all of you humps writing your platitudes in here are serious about what you are writing you will put your thoughts down in an actual letter and ask her to run for solicitor, because she is the only candidate who would enter the race that would be putting people over politics.

    Just a thought, have a great weekend everybody...rock on First Baptist Hurricanes!
  25. Kristi 9/11/07 20:46
    Thank each of you for such wonderful compliments. Ya'll have warmed my heart, even if my judge told me he didn't think I had one.
  26. Anonymous 9/11/07 21:25
    You know people there is nothing wrong with a little Abba and Zeppelin, or Stevie Nicks for that matter. I believe she said her music ranged from Abba to Zeppelin which tells me that she is diverse, I can guarantee that only the best collection of music is probably in her possession. I happen to like the range. And it takes a hell of a woman to admit that they listen to Justin Timberlake from time to time.
  27. Anonymous 9/11/07 22:53
    As a law enforcement officer in Berkeley County, I have worked indirectly with Kristi in the past and always found her to be helpful in any manner requested of her. Furthermore, I recently have had the honor and priveledge of working directly with Kristi on a case which to say the least, pushes the envelope somewhat. I have been pleased beyond words at the dedication and no-nonsense attitude and work ethic Kristi brings to the table. By far, this case has been the experience I will look most fondly towards, more so than any other case I have worked with other members of the solicitor's office to date. I look forward to working with her in the future and to think, she does all of this and is a single mother too. Being familiar with what it is like to be a single parent, this only adds to the utmost respect I already have developed for Kristi. She is definitely a beneficial asset to those of us in the law enforcement community and beyond... and legendary pancakes too!?! what else could you ask for?

    Thanks for all you do Kristi and I look forward to working with you soon!
  28. Anonymous 10/11/07 13:00
    Mr. Capps,

    Just a comment on Ms. Kristi Harrington.

    I have had the pleasure of being around Kristi on several business and social events and find her to be extremely pleasant and engaging.

    She has a special place in my heart for her passion for the game of golf and I appreciate her eagerness to learn more about the "games traditions" and mechanics of the golf swing.

    Larry W. McKeehan
  29. bullbythehorns 13/11/07 16:27
    All weekend long, up until Sunday, we had the opportunity to read not only a great article/interview, but look at a great picture as well. The comments seem to be pouring in, which I was greatly enjoying. I think we should put Kristi Harrington back at number one. It was nice having that pop up first when I entered the website. Now that was good reading material.
  30. Earl Capps 13/11/07 16:34
    Bull, the posts go chronologically so as new news comes in, old news moves down the stack.

    Sorry, that's the way it works. There is always something new stirring in our pot in the Blogland.
  31. bullbythehorns 13/11/07 16:46
    Well Earl, I can certainly say that it was a great interview, and I think it is great that you took the time to recognize the accomplishments of someone so deserving. Sometimes old news is the best news.
  32. Anonymous 14/11/07 20:05
    I had the pleasure of meeting Kristi through Limestone Colege. She was my instructor for several law classes and I have to say she knows her business.

    I am like many of you here who have been touched by her passion and commitment to her family and her career.

    I do not get to speak to with her as often as I used to but I feel that if she ever needed my assistance, I would do what ever I could to help. She is a great person and she deserves all that she wants.

    Best wishes,
  33. Lori 15/11/07 13:29
    Unfortunately, I got to know Kristi because my children were victims of a horrible crime. Fortunately, our case was assigned to an awesome prosecutor and a great lady. I thank God everyday that we had someone with her compassion and fight in our corner. She had the unique ability to make me feel calm when all I wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs. I also appreciate the way she was able to explain the laws and legal issues to me without making me feel like an idiot.

    In a perfect world crimes against children would never happen. However, since we live in the real world we should all feel a little better knowing we have someone like Kristi Harrington on our side!
  34. Pointer 16/11/07 00:10
    You all can joke around about her being smart, hot, or whatever, but you know the fix is already in. The legislature wants to cut a back-room deal so our judges can continue to be fit to judge themselves while they stack bar exams.

    The speaker's brother is on the screening committee, whose law partner is also a candidate. What does that tell you?

    In such a judiciary, there is no room for an ethical person like Ms. Harrington on the bench. She would be outstanding and set too good an example.

    Such decent, honest, and devoted public servants are rare for a reason. People like her make the scoundrels stand out and look bad.
  35. Joe 16/11/07 01:47
    I met Kristi a couple of years ago while we were both serving on the faculty of the National College of District Attorneys in Columbia South Carolina. We taught a week long Trial Advocacy and Ethics course together for prosecutors from accross the country. After teaching that course for eight years, I can tell you that Kristi is one of the most competent, professional, and effective prosecutors I have ever taught with.

    She also has the distinction of being a lecturer for the National College of District Attorneys at various prosecutorial conferences accross the country. These assignments are reserved for the College's most highly regarded and highest rated faculty members.

    In sum, you have a nationally renown prosecutor in your own back yard. Kristi's appointment to the bench will be the prosecutorial profession's loss. But it will be the Bench's gain. It's good to know she will continue to use her considerable skills and ability for the betterment of her community and greater public good.
  36. Anonymous 16/11/07 16:13
    Ms. Harrington is one of Berkeley County’s, and perhaps South Carolina’s, best kept secrets. It leaves little doubt, as evidenced by the comments posted to this site, that she is dedicated to her profession, well respected by her peers, and driven by a deep and abiding sense of moral courage and commitment. She manages to effectively budget her time between her son, her profession, and her passion for service to the causes she believes in. She is goal oriented and builds on the achieved goals to establish a solid foundation for her future. She is not content with mediocrity and the norm. She is drive by her desire to excel, yet never to the extent that she compromises her devotion to her son, her friends and her causes. Her full potential has yet to be realized, and she knows it. When she has attained what she deems to be the pinnacle of her career (as she defines it) she will, with out doubt, be the same Kristi then as now. She commands respect, yet doles out compassion. She is stern and forthright, yet professional and fair-minded. She gives no quarter, and asks for little. She has taken the hand that life has dealt her and is playing it to the fullest. Kristi Harrington, a unique, special person.
  37. DougandMichelle 24/11/07 14:41
    I had the pleasure of working with Kristi in Tulsa County representing and advocating for children. Kristi has a unique ability to do her job in a highly effective yet caring manner. Oftentimes, during the stressful trials we had I would get rattled. Kristi always held it together even though I knew she deeply cared about the outcome. Tulsa County lost a great asset to the practice of law here when she left to be closer to her family. I was always proud to call her my friend and colleague. I can't think of anyone who would make a better Judge. We miss you Kristi.
    Kind regards,
    Michelle Huffman
  38. Laurie Chevalier Fritz 18/12/07 23:04

    I have had the pleasure of getting to know Kristi through our affiliation with Berkeley County PTA. She has been a valuble addition to our district PTA board of directors. I truely hope she is appointed to the 9th Circuit bench as a judge as I know she has the talent & compassion to do a wonderful job. We will miss her assistence but know she will continue her efforts to try to insure a safe & productive future for the young people of our area.
    She is a wonderful role model for all of us to emulate. She is also a wonderful mother, a positive & fun person to be around 7 a darn snappy dresser!

    Keep up the great work, Kristi & thanks for all your hard work & determination.

    Your friend in PTA.
    Laurie Chevalier Fritz
    Berkekley County PTA President
  39. Anonymous 27/2/09 09:07
    thrower is a phu(n)ktard

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