DILLON, SC – On Wednesday, May 25th, the South Carolina General Assembly chose Judge James E. Lockemy as only the fifth Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the second highest court in the state. Lockemy was opposed by fellow appellate judge Paula Thomas, who withdrew from the race after a procedural move to postpone the race failed by an overwhelming show of bi-partisan support for Lockemy.
The South Carolina Court of Appeals was created by statute in 1983 and later was added as a part of the judiciary in our state constitution. It consists of a Chief Judge and eight associate judges. It hears appeals from the Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Administrative Law Court, the Family Court and Circuit Court. After 18 years on the circuit bench, Lockemy was elected in 2008 as the court’s newest member and only one ever from Dillon County and now ascends to become its Chief.
The fight to elect Lockemy was led in the General Assembly by Representative Jackie Hayes and others, including Majority Leader Bruce Bannister and Representative Jenny Horne in the House and Senators Kent Williams and Greg Hembree in the Senate. “This is a proud moment for Dillon County and a great achievement,” said Representative Hayes. “We could not have done this without Judge Lockemy’s earned respect over the state of South Carolina.”
“I was proud of our hard work to bring to the Pee Dee area this post to be held by this distinguished jurist,” said Senator Williams.
Senator Hembree, whose senatorial district spreads across Horry and Dillon counties said, “A key factor in the victory was our success in illustrating Judge Lockemy’s well respected judicial abilities, his outstanding community involvement, and his military service to our country.”
During the flow of emotion and congratulations after the election, Lockemy commended his opponent saying, “Judge Thomas is a valiant fighter, but more than that she is a trusted friend and outstanding judge who has been my judicial colleague for almost 20 years. I look forward to our continued close working relationship.”
Commenting on his election, Lockemy thanked all the people across the state “who assisted greatly in this effort,” and expressed his “pride in the state of South Carolina.” He continued, ” I am very thankful to the people of Dillon County who gave me my first chance at public service. I am also very thankful to my mother and Native-American father who instilled in me the importance of reading in order to learn about all worlds, the value of earning the respect of others by giving respect, and to remember that when you make an attempt at something, give it everything you’ve got.”
A ceremony of investiture will take place within the next few weeks.
-This information is from a Press Release.