Samuels-Cooper files motion with Court to remain on November’s ballot

by | August 10, 2018 3:36 pm

Defendant LaNette Samuels-Cooper, through her attorney Ronnie Sabb, has filed a motion in the recent court case between Coroner Bucky Mock and Samuels-Cooper, Clarendon County Board of Voter Registration & Elections, Clarendon County Democratic Party, South Carolina Democratic Party and South Carolina Election Commission. The motion requests Judge Ferrell Cothran to reconsider, alter or amend the Court’s order filed on August 3 for the following reasons.

First, the motion asserts the Court did not rule on Samuels-Cooper’s motion to amend her original motion to attach laches and estoppel. However, in the ruling, Cothran stated that “Defendant South Carolina Election Commission and Defendant Samuels-Cooper’s Motion to Dismiss for Laches are moot,” because Cothran had already granted in part Samuels-Cooper’s original Motion to Dismiss with regard to the date she filed her affidavit.

Next Samuels-Cooper states that because Cothran partially granted the original Motion to Dismiss, he should have dismissed the entire case. Cothran, however, had clearly stated in his ruling that “Ms. Samuels-Cooper’s Motion to Dismiss is granted in part, but the court retains jurisdiction to address her qualifications to be the Coroner for Clarendon County.” This means he was not required to dismiss the entire proceeding, nor does it appear that there was legal precedent requiring him to do so presented in court.

Samuels-Cooper then states the Court did not make a finding as to what constitutes a death investigation and state statute does not define it, and that without this, the Court could not have determined that she did not have the required experience to be a coroner. However, South Carolina law states only medical examiners and coroners may perform death investigation, and coroners may appoint deputy coroners who can perform the duties of the coroner in his or her absence. Samuels-Cooper, as administrative assistant, was not legally able to perform death investigation, Cothran found.

“To say that an administrative assistant in a coroner’s office has sufficient death investigation experience to qualify to be a coroner would be similar to saying that a judge’s administrative assistant is competent to take the bench because of his experience in the judge’s chambers. Based on the qualifications Ms. Samuels-Cooper indicated in her affidavit, and South Carolina state law, this court holds that Ms. Samuels-Cooper is currently not qualified to be the coroner for Clarendon County,” said Cothran’s ruling.

Samuels-Cooper then argues that the Court misunderstood the number of death scenes she attended while employed with the Coroner’s Office, and the Court did not fully consider the nature and extent of the death investigation experience she acquired while working there.

The Motion asks that Cothran stop the Clarendon County Board of Voter Registration & Elections, Clarendon County Democratic Party, South Carolina Democratic Party and South Carolina Election Commission from removing Samuels-Cooper from the ballot for the general election in November. It further asks that Cothran dismiss the entire case.

The Manning Times will continue to update as official information becomes available.

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