Record reveals magistrate judge candidate was suspended

A candidate for Murrells Inlet magistrate judge was suspended twice when he was with the Horry County Police Department, according to records.

Documents obtained by The Sun News from Horry County in response to a Freedom of Information Act request show that Dave Jolliff, who has been nominated to the judgeship by S.C. Sen. Ray Cleary, R-Murrells Inlet, had two disciplinary reports written because of his actions that list suspension as a punishment.

Jolliff referred questions to his attorney, David DuRant.

DuRant said he was waiting on a response to his own Freedom of Information Act request and could not comment on documents he had not seen.

But he said the documents were not a part of Jolliff's personnel file. When asked if Jolliff had ever been suspended, he said, "No."

The most recent report is based on two fall 2006 incidents in which Jolliff was accused of being "intoxicated to the point of urinating on a very expensive automobile" at a local bar and wrecking his personal vehicle after leaving a restaurant while under the influence.

The disciplinary report, which is not signed by a supervisor or by Jolliff, says he was "suspended from one day of work without pay, mandated to enroll in the Employee Assistance Program for counseling, and temporarily suspended ... from any association, training or activation as it pertains to the HCPD's Bomb Squad."

Horry County Public Information Office Lisa Bourcier said, "The November 6, 2006, disciplinary action was carried out, yes, we can confirm that."

The report says that on or about Oct. 18, 2006, Jolliff left a Murrells Inlet business and engaged in behavior that was "while not criminal in nature, an act that could embarrass the county and below the expected standards of behavior of an Horry County Police Officer."

Jolliff was questioned about that incident, according to a document dated Oct. 24, 2006, and admitted that he did urinate on a vehicle that was outside Powerhouse Bar.

It says that Jolliff was also asked if, on another date, he was under the influence when he crashed his personal vehicle while leaving the Boathouse Restaurant, and because of that delayed calling authorities.

"No, I wasn't under the influence, and I did call and report it. I have the incident report available and was questioned by the responding officer," the document states Jolliff responded.

Another document about the incident says that a report was written on Sept. 16, 2006, at 2:26 a.m. about the crash by the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Jolliff also was suspended in August 1998 while he was attending the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy, the documents showed.

A letter dated Aug. 14, 1998, sent to Jolliff and signed by Maj. Kenneth Canterbury, operations bureau commander, and then-Horry County Police Chief Paul Goward, said Jolliff was suspended without pay for five days after using his marked county vehicle to go to a local tavern and left it there overnight, unlocked, with firearms in it.

The letter says that Jolliff was suspended from Aug. 17, 1998, to Aug. 21, 1998 for "creating to or contributing to unsanitary/unsafe conditions" and "unauthorized use or improper use of County equipment."

It goes on to say that the unauthorized or improper use of county equipment "calls for termination of employment. However, as you have no previous disciplinary actions, and are a probationary employee the staff has recommended and I concur that leniency is desirable."

Cleary said he will soon be sending a letter to the S.C. Law Enforcement Division asking them to look into the allegations.

He said there would be a SLED investigation into Jolliff's background as part of the normal vetting process, but he will now ask them to look into these allegations specifically.

"The part of the process is for SLED to tell me what's real and what's not real, what's true and what's not true," he said.

Cleary said, "When we find out the truth, which only SLED can do, we'll go from there."