We have not had many posts since last Friday because we had a jury trial this week in the General Sessions Court of Florence County. Little did we know, we'd be getting to take part in a little bit of history. We found that out Monday afternoon before we struck the jury for the case. The Honorable Ralph King Anderson, Jr., was our presiding judge and before beginning the jury selection process for our trial, he surprised us all by announcing that our case would be his final criminal jury trial.
Judge Anderson already retired once, leaving his seat on the South Carolina Court of Appeals not long ago. But he was pressed back into service and became a retired/active judge here in Florence, handling criminal cases. Recently, Judge Anderson had been appointed to several death penalty cases around the state and was also appointed to handle a fairly complex civil case involving pricing issues by multiple hospitals from around the state.
At the recent investiture of newly appointed Circuit Court Judge Craig Brown, Chief Justice Toal made a comment that when they look back in the books on the history of law in this state, the Pee Dee will have given us many titans and none any larger than Judge Anderson. Whatever anyone may say regarding Judge Anderson, no one can doubt the man's incredible knowledge of the law, his willingness to allow lawyers to try their cases and make their arguments, and the fact that he was probably without peer in his ability to make a "pristine" record in his trials. We have heard one capital defender comment on Judge Anderson, taking into account that pristine record-making ability, as "the bubonic plaque, because wherever Ralph King goes, death follows."
There is no doubting the fact that our state is losing a legal mind of brobdingnagian proportions (we got that word from him this week at trial. Check your Gulliver's Travels). So farethewell, your honor. We wish you a happy and fulfilling retirement from the bench.