Church shooting judge used N-word in court, received reprimand

Chief Magistrate James B. Gosnell Jr. during Friday's Dylann Roof hearing.

Story highlights

  • James Gosnell, who is now chief magistrate of Charleston County, said he was repeating a phrase to a defendant he knew
  • He gave favoritism to another judge who has been detained on suspicion of DUI
  • Gosnell received a public reprimand

(CNN)The judge in the South Carolina church massacre case was reprimanded for using the N-word in court in 2003, according to a judicial disciplinary order posted on the South Carolina Supreme Court's website.

Charleston County Magistrate James B. Gosnell Jr. also showed favoritism toward another judge, the justices ruled.
In November 2003, Gosnell was talking to a black defendant, whom he knew. Gosnell said he repeated to the defendant a phrase that he had heard spoken by a black sheriff's deputy.
    "There are four kinds of people in this world -- black people, white people, red necks, and n------," Gosnell said at the time. He told the office of disciplinary counsel at the state Supreme Court that he made the "ill-considered" statement to try to get the young man to change his life.
    The use of the racial slur, first reported in the Daily Beast, came at a bail reduction hearing.
    The other charge stemmed from a case in which another judge was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The law required people to stay in jail overnight, but Gosnell drove down to the jail to set a bond for the judge.