For a second time, Oconee Probate judge suspended

The South Carolina Supreme Court ordered the suspension today of Oconee Probate Judge Kenny Johns.  It’s the second time in Johns’ tenure as judge that he has been suspended.  This time, five court justices concurred, in what’s called a “definite suspension.”  The order refers to an agreement for disciplinary action by consent agreement and, in part, reads:  “In the Agreement, Respondent (Johns) admits misconduct and consents to a range of sanctions from a public reprimand to an eighteen-month definite suspension.  We (the court) accept the Agreement and suspend Respondent from office for eighteen months.”  Johns’ current term expires at the end of 2022. The issue that triggers the suspension appears to be an affidavit, signed by Johns, pertaining to a South Carolinian involved in an out of state court case. The order states the following:  On October 18, 2017, Respondent prepared a certification for submission in litigation pending in the Superior Court of New Jersey. In the certification, Respondent personally attested to the character of a South Carolina resident stating, “(i)ncidentally, (Mr. S.) has a reputation for truth, honesty, reliability and trustworthiness, and the court even waived bond because of this and its trust of (Mr. S.)” Respondent further attested in the certification, “I am aware of the fact that there is a claim in New Jersey that (Mr. S.) has made fraudulent conveyances of his mother’s money. THIS IS A COMPLETE AND UNADULTERATED LIE, AND COMPLETELY UNTRUE. There is NO VALIDITY TO THAT STATEMENT AT ALL.” Again, the preceding is taken from today’s South Carolina Supreme Court order. Johns told 101.7/WGOG NEWS this afternoon:  “My sin is I acted as a voluntary character witness for a fiduciary.  That is my sin.”  He called the 18 months excessive and said he has only 14 months left in his current term.  It’s up in the air whether Johns will run for a new term in 2022.