Commonviews 2002: Ozmint-A Prosecutor Or Politician?
April 18, 2002
(Commonviews 2002 is a series of articles examining the most important issues in South Carolina’s 2002 statewide GOP primary races. Click here to find out more about the purpose of Commonviews 2002 and how to submit your own suggestions for future topics of discussion.)
In the race for South Carolina Attorney General, one candidate has attempted to distinguish himself from his opponents by claiming that he is running as a prosecutor, not a politician. His name is Jon Ozmint.
A brief look into the background of Jon E. Ozmint may indicate if the slogan he is using, “A Prosecutor...Not A Politician,” is apropos or not.
Ozmint received his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1990. He has been active in the military after graduating from The Citidal. He served four years as a U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG, as popularized by the hit CBS-TV show).
When he was stationed in Connecticut, Ozmint served as Chief Prosecutor, Chief Defense Counsel, and Chief Legal Assistance Officer. He is now a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
Ozmint left the military in 1994 to return to where he grew up in Anderson. He became an Assistant Solicitor for the 10th Judicial Circuit as Drug and Vice Prosecutor until January 1996. Then, he became the General Counsel at the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
In November 1996, Attorney General Charlie Condon appointed Ozmint as Deputy Attorney General and Chief of the State Grand Jury. Ozmint is a member of the Alabama and the South Carolina Bar Associations and is currently Chairman of the Military Law Section of the South Carolina Bar. He has completed the Career Prosecutor Course and is a member of the National District Attorney’s Association.
As the Chief Prosector at the State Grand Jury, Ozmint has been instrumental in breaking up several of the largest drug rings in the history of South Carolina, including Operation Cueball in Greenville and Operation Roadrunner in Pickens. These landmark drug cases have resulted in the seizure and forfeiture of over two million dollars in drug funds and millions more in other assets for the state.
Ozmint has also been an important factor in exposing several corrupt public officials throughout South Carolina, including a recent case where he helped
convict fifteen defendants indicted in Operation Fieldtrip: the Sumter School District 17 embezzlement cases which garnered national attention.
After looking at Mr. Ozmint’s comprehensive legal background, it is understandable why he calls himself a prosecutor and not a politician. His opponents cannot make this claim. Both of them seem to be pursuing greater political power in the state.
What do YOU think?
Is Jon Ozmint running to become the highest law enforcement officer in the state so he can prosecute criminals in South Carolina?
Or does he have future political ambitions in his quest for becoming Attorney General?
Click on the "Comment On This Article" button below and discuss whether you think Mr. Ozmint seeks the office of Attorney General of South Carolina to prosecute criminals or to become a player in state politics.