Dan Hall, a York County assistant public defender, is expected to be the newest judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit, now that the only other finalists for the position have withdrawn from the race.
Hall, who would succeed retiring Circuit Court Judge Lee Alford of Rock Hill, is expected to be formally elected by the Legislature on Wednesday. Traditionally, in an uncontested judicial race, lawmakers will elect the judge by acclamation, rather than a roll call vote.
Staff at the Judicial Merit Selection Commission confirmed Thursday that James Morton stepped aside this Wednesday, and William McKinnon withdrew last week. It is not uncommon for finalists to withdraw from the race if the outcome appears certain.
Morton is a founding partner of the Morton & Gettys law firm in Rock Hill. McKinnon is a business litigator with the McGowan, Hood & Felder law firm in Rock Hill.
Alford, 72, is expected to retire before the end of the year. He holds one of two Circuit Court positions that handle criminal and civil cases in York and Union counties. Circuit Court Judge John Hayes III’s term is set to expire in 2016.
Originally, five candidates ran for Alford’s seat, appearing before the Judicial Merit Selection Commission on April 28 for a public hearing, during which a panel of legislators vetted each lawyer’s experience and credentials for the job.
After the public hearing, three finalists remained.
Efforts to reach Hall for comment were unsuccessful Thursday. He told the Herald in April that he would be a “fair and impartial” judge.
In addition to his work as a public defender, Hall also has experience as an assistant solicitor and as a municipal judge in York.