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      SC sheriff seeks to level legal playing field

      BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner wants to hire an attorney for his office to help reduce a case backlog and level the legal playing field in court.

      The Beaufort Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/PKAUDNlcklog ) that there is a 125-case backlog of drunken-driving and criminal domestic violence cases in magistrate's court in the county. Tanner says hiring an attorney and another DNA analyst will help eliminate the backlog.

      DUI cases are usually prosecuted by deputies who find themselves opposed by trained defense attorneys in magistrate's court.

      Tanner says a sheriff's attorney could better handle legal issues in a case while the arresting officer is the primary witness.

      Tanner is seeking almost $290,000 for the positions in next budget.

      Information from: The Beaufort Gazette, http://www.beaufortgazette.com

      Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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