Charleston County Magistrate James Gosnell Jr., who sparked outrage this week after suggesting that the family of shooter Dylann Roof were “victims” deserving of “help,” will not be responsible for overseeing the case at trial in South Carolina.
According to official state protocol, circuit judges — not magistrates — are responsible for presiding over criminal trials, reports the New York Daily News.
Gosnell’s remarks sparked national headlines and even calls for him to be removed from the bench late last week. The magistrate appealed to a court room filled with the family members of Roof’s victims that they must “find it in [their] heart at some point in time not only to help those that are victims but to also help [Roof’s] family as well.”
He later refused to offer an apology for his insensitivity, claiming in an interview with Fox News, “I set the tone of my court. It’s my courtroom, I take control over it, and I conduct business within the scope of the law.”
This isn’t the first time Gosnell has raised eyebrows with questionable comments in the court room. In 2003, he was reproached by the state Supreme Court for telling a black defendant, “There are four kinds of people in this world: black people, white people, rednecks, and n——.”
It’s yet to be seen whether he will face formal punitive actions for his latest verbal blunder.