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Prosecutor Disciplined After Antigay Remarks

Prosecutor Disciplined After Antigay Remarks

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A prosecutor in Lexington County, S.C., has received a two-day suspension after dropping a domestic violence case, allegedly because the couple involved were lesbians, TV station WIS reports.

The suspension took place in May but was not publicized until this week. Criminal domestic violence prosecutor Nicole Howland (pictured) was suspended two days, starting May 24, according to records the county sheriff's department provided WIS.

Cyndi Roland's ex-partner, Marci Staack, had been charged with harassment in January. Roland accused Staack of stalking her following the breakup of their 13-year relationship last fall. When the case went to court in April, Roland said, Howland asked her if she'd consider dropping the charges.

When Roland said no, she said Howland "turned around, threw the case file down on the table, said she was going to address the whole court. She said that she was not going to try the case because she felt she could not find six jurors to hear the case due to my alternative lifestyle."

Lexington County sheriff James Metts told WIS in April that "alternative lifestyle ... would not be a valid reason" for dropping the case.

The sheriff's department investigated Howland's actions, and its disciplinary report, provided to the TV station, notes that she violated department policy, which states that employees "should always be civil and courteous when dealing with the public."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.