Family Court candidate lacks courtroom experience

In the race for the First At-Large seat on the Family Court, two candidates are competing for the job: Rosalyn Frierson from Columbia and Kelly Pope from Spartanburg.

The Report of Candidate Qualifications released by the Judicial Merit Selection Committee raised questions about Frierson's experience. According to the report, Frierson reported no time in state or federal courtrooms and no time with practicing family law - but in spite of this, she still wants to preside over courtrooms in Family Court. 

Frierson explains her experience as "less conventional":

I have worked as an attorney during my 20 year legal career in what may be viewed as a less conventional path. I have worked with practicing attorneys and was married to an attorney for many years who practiced in domestic law. I have seen the practicing side of an attorney from that secondary view. I believe that I have the skills required of a judge.

We're sure there are lots of cops, legal clerks and court reporters who have "secondary views" as well, but you don't see them expecting to become judges.

This is story is not intended to criticize Frierson's character. Not a single source contacted by the Blogland questioned her character or motives. In reading the report, it's clear that Frierson has been a loyal and smart person in the legal profession - but that's not enough.

While candidates are withdrawing from a number of formerly-contested judicial races as they find themselves short of the votes needed to win election to seats, Frierson is still hanging in the race, meaning she has likely attracted some support - but we're not sure why.

If Frierson wanted to serve as a judge badly enough, especially in a focused post such as a Family Court judge, it would seem logical that she would have sought to add practical courtroom experience, especially with domestic issues, to her resume before seeking this post. Hopefully she will address this lack of experience and try again in the future - but this is too important a post for on-the-job training.

By contrast, Pope, the other candidate in the race has considerable experience practicing law in the courtroom, including plenty of experience practicing family law. Contrasted against Frierson, Pope is clearly the better of the two candidates - and hope legislators who will be voting to appoint a judge to fill this seat will see the same.

The third candidate, Mary Goodwin, who dropped out of the race also seemed fully qualified for the post. Hopefully she will seek another judicial post in the future.

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