State News

The Unethicalness of the South Carolina Judicial Ethics Committees

Over the past few years several News publications have covered different aspects of the South Carolina Judicial Ethics Committees and their questionable practices. Exposing certain failures as to its operation and accountability on Attorneys and Judges. In this article we will be discussing some of these “actor” Attorneys and Judges who were allowed to continue practising law even though they clearly violated their “oath of office” and “Canon Laws” (ethical behavior laws for the legal profession).

To begin and give a better understanding let’s explain what oath of office and canon laws are for attorneys and judges.

Every attorney and judge who practices law in South Carolina must undertake his or her “Oath of Office”, as they become what is called Officers of the Court.

The Oath for Attorneys:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that:
I am duly qualified, according to the Constitution of this State, to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been appointed, and that I will, to the best of my ability, discharge those duties and will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of this State and of the United States;
I will maintain the respect and courtesy due to courts of justice, judicial officers, and those who assist them;
To my clients, I pledge faithfulness, competence, diligence, good judgment and prompt communication;
To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications;
I will not pursue or maintain any suit or proceeding which appears to me to be unjust nor maintain any defenses except those I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land, but this obligation shall not prevent me from defending a person charged with a crime;
I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me only such means as are consistent with trust and honor and the principles of professionalism, and will never seek to mislead an opposing party, the judge or jury by a false statement of fact or law;
I will respect and preserve inviolate the confidences of my clients, and will accept no compensation in connection with a client’s business except from the client or with the client’s knowledge and approval;
I will maintain the dignity of the legal system and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged;
I will assist the defenseless or oppressed by ensuring that justice is available to all citizens and will not delay any person’s cause for profit or malice;
[So help me God.]

The Oath for Judges:

All members of the Unified Judicial System in this state shall take the following oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that:
I am duly qualified, according to the Constitution of this State, to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been appointed, and that I will, to the best of my ability, discharge those duties and will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of this State and of the United States;
I pledge to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary;
I pledge, in the discharge of my duties, to treat all persons who enter the courtroom with civility, fairness, and respect;
I pledge to listen courteously, sit impartially, act promptly, and rule after careful and considerate deliberation;
I pledge to seek justice, and justice alone;
[So help me God.]

As one can see from both of these oaths these individuals swear or affirm to uphold the laws of both the State and U.S. Constitution.

South Carolina’s Canon Laws or Rule 407 are the ethical rules (Laws) that every attorney and judge must abide by. These rules cover everything from communication with a client to how attorney’s may advertise their services, there are 59 separate articles within Rule 407.

The 2 ethic committees are Lawyer Conduct and Judge Conduct.

The Commission on Lawyer Conduct is comprised of 50 members, of which 34 are attorneys and 16 are members of the general public (not the average general public). The Chairman of the Commission on Lawyer Conduct is Christopher G. Isgett, an attorney with Lee Eadon Isgett & Popwell in Columbia.  The Vice-chair is John Michael Turner of Turner and Burney in Laurens.

The Commission on Judicial Conduct is comprised of 26 members, of which 14 are judges, 4 attorneys and 8 members of the general public (again not your average general public). The Chairman of the Commission on Judicial Conduct is The Honorable Thomas W. Cooper, Jr., a Circuit Court Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit. The Commission on Judicial Conduct’s Vice-Chairman is The Honorable George M. McFaddin, Jr., a Family Court Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit in Sumter, South Carolina.

As seen above the attorneys and judges are overseen by themselves, with little to no input by the average general public.

Lack of Accountability:

Now that there is some working knowledge on the committees, their duties and the laws let us look at some of the individuals who have been protected by their peers on these committees.

Gorski William F Atty 205 W Main St Lexington, SC Lawyers - MapQuest
William Gorski

William Gorski an attorney out of Lexington, South Carolina, who has been a practicing attorney since 1995. Mr. Gorski received a Public Reprimand in 2006 on multiple violations with multiple clients. Gorski agreed to this arrangement made with the ODC (Office of Disciplinary Counsel) and was simply ordered to pay the cost incurred by the ODC. In 2018 Gorski’s license to practice law was suspended for 12 months for further violations and again entered into an agreement with the ODC. This suspension came from 4 additional complaints against him for the exact same violations from his public reprimand in 2006, infact included a complaint from the 2006 reprimand that Gorski never completed. And again simply had to pay the ODC their cost.

William Gorski was allowed to return to practice law after filing a petition for reinstatement and receiving an Order from the State Supreme Court on September 21, 2020. This publication has spoken with former clients of Mr. Gorski’s who have stated that Mr. Gorski has not changed his habits in regards to how he practices law. And according to the South Carolina Bar website is a member in “Good Standing”.

SC Family Court Judge Challenged By "Father's Rights" Movement - FITSNews
Monet Pincus

Monet Pincus a Family Court Judge At Large (floating judge) who primarily works in the 5th Circuit has had multiple complaints filed against her as a judge and when she was a practicing attorney.

Some of the complaints against her as an attorney on were: “This lawyer will suck the life out of a plant if you let her. And she submits false evidence. Her and the associates needs to be disbarred quickly. She can’t even practice in FL. Look for yourself. She uses the law in the wrong way and coaches others on hearsay.”

“My husband and I had a terrible experience with this woman. She did not communicate with us at all, and was extremely rude when we called to inquire about our case. Our case took three times longer than it should have. she told us 3 months for the entire process, 5 tops…it ended up taking a year due to her lack of efforts. Her staff is extremely disorganized and I found them to be confused and completely useless everytime I spoke with them. We were given misinformation on at least 5 occasions and she flat out lied to us in an e-mail about some paperwork we were waiting on. My advice for anyone would be to stay far away from her and do some research, as we should have, before choosing someone to represent you.”

Complaints continued after she was made a Domestic Relations Judge:

Deana on BirdEye

4 years ago Judge Pincus stated on record she did not have jurisdiction to modify a Final Order regarding a non-modifiable portion and did so anyways. Both parties were not present at this hearing, a Motion to amend a Final Order was not before her and her decision altered my children’s and my life. If you have any documentation that can substantiate your allegations against Judge Pincus I would like to review them as I am working on a formal complaint to have her disbarred. Please email me at I am saddened to read what all has transpired in your cases but not surprised.

Secrets in a duct taped b. on BirdEye

5 years agoIf you end up with Judge Pincus Do not I repeat Do allow any discussion or decisions to be made on your case with out the presence of a court reporter. This is a Judge who likes to give rulings amongst attorneys off the record in her chambers uses this tactic along with intimidation to violate any law that’s suppose to protect. You will void all chances of appealing any decision she screws up and believe me she will screw it up if it’s not on the record. Judge Pincus will screw up a final ruling, and then have whatever attorney who’s on her “E” list to prepare the final order which will be out of context. To cover up her the shady rulings this Judge will seal all records involved in the case. If you decide to appeal any of this Judges rulings be prepared for judicial back lash. Judge Pincus will find you in Contempt of court just because she’s the Judge and she can do it. Your records will be sealed and if you don’t appeal you will sit in jail while Judge “duct tape your records” carry’s on with her next case. We were appalled with the behavior Judge Pincus is allowed to display. “Abuse of Authority” and it’s time she’s exposed!!! If This Judges rules on your case and you have proof that an in justice has occurred PLEASE APPEAL THE ORDER!!! It’s time Judge Mafia Pincus is exposed and DE-benched!! 

In 2018, at her reconfirmation hearing two (2) parents came and spoke about this Judges legal mishandling of their cases. Judge Pincus had brought with her copies of one of the cases that was sealed in order to defend herself. She was immediately questioned concerning her access to this file and what right she had to bring copies of a sealed court case to a public hearing? Judge Pincus’s reply was in paraphrase, “I am a Family Court Judge, I can enter that file anytime I wish.

Let us also note here that Judge Pincus at the time of this reconfirmation hearing had several complaints lodged against her with the Judicial Ethics Committee on Judicial Conduct.

After Judge Pincus was reconfirmed (in a secret closed door hearing lead by Sen. Luke Rankin) those individuals who had filed a complaint were sent a form letter, as most people who file a complaint with the office on Lawyer/Judge Conduct do. This form letter states that after careful review and investigation no misconduct was found. It also states that the decision by the Office on Judicial Conduct is final.

Carrie Tanner of Speedy, Tanner, Atkinson, and Cook | Camden, SC
Carrie Tanner

Carrie Tanner is an attorney with Speedy, Tanner and Atkinson out of Camden, Ms. Tanner is also a County Magistrate in Kershaw County.

Ms. Tanner as so many others, has received numerous complaints against her, but has never been held accountable for any violations. Most recently a complaint was received by the ODC concerning Ms. Tanner’s conflict of interest in a Domestic Relations case. Ms. Tanner is representing an individual in the same Court House where she presides as a Magistrate. This conflict of interest was confirmed when the complaining party contacted the Attorney Generals Office for clarification on the matter prior to filing the complaint. But in good old ODC fashion the complaining party received this letter:

Ms. Tanner was found to have not violated what the Attorney Generals Office stated was a clear violation.

Most of us would like to believe that our Judicial system is honest and fair, and perhaps for the most part it is. But when so many unethical and questionable acts are allowed to continue you have to ask yourself, “Is the deck stacked!”

South Carolina Citizens have been asking for Judicial Reform, removing Attorneys and Judges from these Oversight Committees and replacing them with the General Public to ensure fairness, in what many are calling a corrupt system of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.

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