BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A Berkeley County magistrate judge has been suspended without pay for failing to show up for work.

Magistrate Ave E. Bryant has failed to report for duty at Berkeley County Magistrate Court on at least 29 days within the last six months, according to South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty.

In the order filed by Chief Justice Beatty, he noted that Bryant devised and implemented a work scheduling scheme that deceptively allowed her to take multiple unauthorized days off during the work week while still appearing to be at work.

The magistrate would direct the clerks in her office to not schedule hearings for her to preside over on numerous days each month and would not report to her office on those days, despite her status as a full-time magistrate judge.

“This is in direct contravention of my order re: Hours of Full- and Part-Time Magistrates Statewide dated November 8, 2021. Magistrate Bryant was fully aware of this order and devised the deceptive work schedule to circumvent the requirement to work hours for which she was being paid,” wrote Chief Justice Beatty.

He said the dereliction of duty was an “unacceptable affront to the fair administration of justice and the courts” and immediately suspended her from magisterial duties for 90 days without compensation.