Originally created 07/30/00

Attorney defends Judge Cooper

The July 19 "Aiken's Judge Ito?" editorial was well written and hit the bull's eye. However, the bull's eye was hung on the wrong person.

The author states that Judge Thomas Cooper Jr. is likened to Judge Lance Ito of O.J. Simpson fame by "indulging the defense to the point that he is losing control of his courtroom."

Having appeared in Judge Cooper's court as a private attorney, I am absolutely convinced that the author of this editorial either has never set foot in Judge Cooper's courtroom or is just plain stupid.

The point of the editorial was to assail the trial continuance granted by the judge in the Arthur Hastings Wise death penalty trial. It claimed that the case has been languishing in the court system for three years and that justice delayed is justice denied.

However, the editorial does not state why the trial has been delayed, whether the defense has made requests to delay the case, or whether the state has not done its job in getting the case tried. I am aware that the South Carolina Supreme Court reassigned judges to try the case and that a change in defense attorneys was ordered by the Circuit Court.

Justice is not a race. It is a calm and deliberate effort to assure that an accused citizen is afforded a just trial. This only occurs by honoring and fulfilling the promises made to our citizens by the Constitution through the process of a well prepared case at the hands of a competent attorney and through the deliberations of a truly unbiased and fair jury.

Judge Ito presides in California where anything goes in a courtroom. Judge Cooper is a polished and professional jurist that controls his courtroom while serving our citizens well.

James B. Huff, North Augusta

(Editor's note: The author is a South Carolina attorney.)


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