Third Circuit Court Assistant Solicitor Amy Land will take over the retiring Judge Bobbie Reaves’ position at the county’s Drug Court starting on Aug. 1.
Following in the footsteps of her father, who served as solicitor in Richland County for 16 years, Land began her career in Clarendon County, serving as assistant solicitor since 2000.
She was born and raised in Columbia, attended Cardinal Newman School, double majored in Psychology and Sociology at Clemson University, and graduated from the University of South Carolina’s School of Law in 1997. During law school she also served in the state attorney general’s office. She married Attorney William Ceth Land, of Land, Parker and Welch, and moved to Clarendon County in 1997. Land was all smiles at her congratulatory/going away party at the county courthouse last week.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be appointed,” she said.
Land said that she expects her job as a drug court judge to be very different from solicitor.
“As a prosecutor, I was making sure that people are punished for their crimes,” she said. “One thing I learned is that incarceration does not help with solving people’s problems. Hopefully I will be able to offer a lot of help so they can get their life on track and help them function in society instead of taking them out of society.”
Land said that as a drug court judge, when people get to her they would have already been prosecuted in most cases, and that she would decide on the condition of their probation, or imprisonment. She said that drug court does not function as a traditional court, but instead everyone works together to help the person get treated. Participants meet in front of the judge on a regular basis to determine where their situation stands, Land said.
Reaves said that Land had gained experience by working with the drug court as a representative of the Solicitor’s Office when the court was being set up in the county.
“I think that she’s very qualified for the position, she has the credentials, the personality, and relates well to people,” Reaves said. “The one thing that consistently makes drug court work is the professional relationships between the various members working in the court, and the rapport between the judge and the participants, and I think that she has what it takes to be successful in the position.”
Public Defender Harry Devoe said that he has known Land ever since she started practicing in Manning, and although he has always worked on the other side, he said that he has always had respect for her and is sorry to see her go.
“She’s a hard worker, quick on her feet, and a personable person,” Devoe said.
Third Circuit Judge Ferrell Cothran worked with Land as assistant solicitor when she was starting out.
“She worked with the public defender to move a lot of cases forward,” Cothran said. “She was an advocate in the courtroom and fought hard for the state’s interests, she did her job and was a professional.”