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Judge Early honored with portrait Print E-mail

Judge Doyet A. Early III was honored at the South Carolina Association for Justice Convention at Hilton Head in August with a portrait painted by renowned artist Janet Fleming Smith. Each year the SCAJ historically honors a judge by presenting them with a portrait done by the famous internationally acclaimed artist.

Smith, a lifelong resident of Greenville, has painted portraits of famous people such as President Clinton, Senator Strom Thurmond, President Obama, and South Carolina Supreme Court Justice, Julius B. Ness, to name a few.

"It was a tremendous honor to have my portrait presented by this organization and to be recognized by people I have practiced law with for so long. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think when I saw the first portrait presented in 1979 to Judge Hemphill and to Judge Ness, Judge Blatt and Judge R. W. Kemp and many others, that I would become a part of such an elite group," said Judge Early.

Bamberg County Clerk of Court Pedie Hiers said," I have had the privilege of working with a great many judges since I have been in office and Judge Early is a very passionate judge. This is very unusual for a judge who has only been on the bench for just six years to be honored in such a way."

Judge Early's Administrative Assistant, Karin Coker, and Law Clerk Sandra Vriesinga, both said it is an honor and a pleasure to work with Judge Early. "We look forward to coming to work every day and we have a great time working together."

Born in Orangeburg, Judge Early attended Florence public schools and graduated from Lakeland High School (Florida) in 1966 and from USC in 1971. Judge Early graduated from USC School of Law in 1974. While attending USC he was a member of the RHO Chapter of Kappa Alpha Order.

After graduation, Judge Early practiced law for 30 years in Bamberg and founded his own practice in 1975 which later became known as the firm of Early and Ness. He practiced criminal law, civil trial litigation, family, probate and real estate law and served as the county attorney for Bamberg County for 25 years before being elected Resident Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit on February 4, 2004 to succeed Judge Rodney A. Peeples. He began his duties on May 1, 2004.

Judge Early is admitted to practice law in all South Carolina Courts, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been a member of the South Carolina Bar Association, South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, and American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA). He served on the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Judicial Qualifications Committee of the South Carolina Bar, and was President of the Bamberg County Public Defender Corporation. He also served on the local advisory Board of South Carolina Bank and Trust in Bamberg until, March 2004, was chairman of the S.C. Heart Fund and was President of the Bamberg- Ehrhardt Red Raider Booster Club.

He and his wife, Lee Foy Early, of Barnwell, live in Bamberg and Edisto Beach. They have two sons, one daughter-in-law and two grandchildren; William P. Early, an attorney in Charleston, and his wife Dasher (Harvey) and daughters, Doyet Lesesne Early, and Harvey All Foy Early; Ross H. Early, lives in Tavernier, Florida. Judge Early is a member of the First Baptist Church in Bamberg.

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