CHESTER, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Supreme Court has suspended a Chester County magistrate for six months for improperly using her judicial email account.
The Justices said Chester County Magistrate Angel Catina Underwood eroded public trust by using her email to help her husband write a disciplinary order on a sheriff’s office employee and forward crime tips from the sheriff’s office Facebook page.
The court order said Underwood accessed the sheriff’s office’s Facebook messages and transmitted the information to her husband’s employees requesting certain actions take place in response to complaints such as drug activity, trash and noise complaints.
Emails included a signature block that identified Underwood as a Chester County Magistrate with the address and phone number to the magistrate’s court according to the court order.
Underwood is married to a former Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood who is awaiting sentencing on federal charges.
AP previously reported that Underwood’s husband was convicted in federal court of stealing money from government programs and other abuses of his power.
Federal prosecutors said Underwood and two other deputies were angered by someone videotaping a police investigation so they held in him jail for three days, created a fake police report, tried to destroy his cellphone and lied to the FBI.
The former deputy also skimmed overtime pay meant for his deputies and used taxpayer money to fly first-class to a Las Vegas conference with his wife.
Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order suspending Underwood.
The sentencing date for Alex Underwood has not been set.