Lawmakers make Pleicones 1st new chief justice in 15 years

BY JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press, May 27, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Lawmakers have elected South Carolina’s first new chief justice in 15 years.

Associate Justice Costa Pleicones (Pluh-KOH-Nus) ran unopposed in Wednesday’s legislative election to be the state’s top judge. He will replace Jean Toal, who turns 72 in August and is required to retire at the end of the year because of her age.

Pleicones cannot be chief justice long. He turns 72 next year.

Pleicones says he won’t change much. He would like to make the bar exam two days instead of three and continue Toal’s push to have legal papers filed electronically.

The two retirements will open two coveted seats on the five-member state Supreme Court and raised questions whether lawmakers will follow custom and elevate the longest serving associate justice, 63-year-old Don Beatty, to chief justice.

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