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Judge banned from bench after racial comment

/ Source: The Associated Press

A South Carolina judge who admitted calling crack cocaine addiction "black man's disease" has been banned from the bench, the state's Supreme Court said in an order Monday.

Former Beaufort County Magistrate George Peter Lamb, who is white, agreed to the punishment and resigned before the order was issued. The court's order included no other details about the comment.

The justices' ruling outlined problems with Lamb that included behavior toward female employees that the high court said could have been considered inappropriate and the judge incorrectly telling a defendant at a bond hearing the penalty he could face if convicted.

Lamb's lawyer referred questions to the former judge, who did not immediately respond to telephone messages left on his cell phone and at his home.

Lamb is a lawyer who served on Beaufort County Council until 2006, when Republican Gov. Mark Sanford appointed him a part-time magistrate.

Lamb was publicly reprimanded by the state Supreme Court, which said it was the harshest punishment it could issue since he had resigned as judge. Lamb agreed to not seek any judicial position in the state without first getting written permission from the state's high court, effectively banning him from the bench.