Swearinger named Chief Magistrate

WINNSBORO – Longtime Winnsboro attorney Paul Swearingen was recently appointed as Chief Magistrate over Fairfield County. The appointment took effect July 1 and was ordered by Chief Justice of South Carolina Donald W. Beatty.

New chief magistrates were named in 31 of 46 counties in the state.

Reached Tuesday by The Voice, Swearingen said it was a surprise that so many chief magistrates were turned over.

“From what I’ve gathered,” Swearingen said, “the Chief Justice just decided to rotate leadership among the chief magistrates.”

Magistrates are city and county judges who hear crimes that have penalties of $500 or less and civil disputes involving up to $7,500. They also issue search warrants.

Swearingen said his term is until the end of the year but could be longer if the Chief Justice of South Carolina decides to extend his term.

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