After months of controversy, Mullen sworn in as 14th Circuit judge

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After months of controversy, Mullen sworn in as 14th Circuit judge

By TIM DONNELLY<br>The Island Packet
Published Wednesday, July 12, 2006 in The Island Packet  |  294 Words  |  /BeaufortGazette/local_news

Carmen Tevis Mullen was sworn in Monday as the newest judge for the 14th Judicial Circuit after overcoming a legal challenge and lingering questions about her qualifications.'
Mullen replaced Judge Jackson V. Gregory, who retired July 10 after holding the seat for 15 years. The 14th Circuit includes Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Colleton and Allendale counties.'
Before taking the bench, Mullen must sit through a few weeks of orientation and observe other judges, said Rosalyn Frierson, director of court administration.'
According to the court's online calendar, her first assignment will be Aug. 14, when she will sit for General Sessions Court in Richland County.'
Her first assignment in the district is scheduled for Oct. 23 in Allendale County. '
Her first assignment for Beaufort County isn't scheduled until December, according to the calendar.'
The General Assembly chose Mullen over two other candidates for the judgeship in February, but her ascension to the bench was in question until last month.'
Hilton Head Island attorney Jim Herring and the South Carolina Public Interest Foundation filed a lawsuit against the state's Judicial Merit Selection Commission, claiming the body did not properly research Mullen's credentials before nominating her. They presented evidence questioning her residency, including her bar membership and other business listings that called into doubt whether Mullen practiced in the district.'
But the state Supreme Court threw out the case, saying it was an issue for the legislature to handle and that the plaintiff had not shown that the Selection Commission had abused its discretion by nominating Mullen. The decision cleared the way for Mullen to take the position.'
Mullen was in Columbia for orientation Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.