No details of what led to the suspension were included in the order signed by South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Costa M. Pleicones. His order cited a rule stating that the Supreme Court can place a judge on interim suspension "upon receipt of sufficient evidence demonstrating that a judge poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public or to the administration of justice."
According to the order, Johns is "prohibited from entering the premises of the Oconee County Probate Court unless escorted by a law officer after authorization from the Associate Probate Judge for Oconee County."
Johns, 49, declined to discuss his suspension. Responding to questions, Johns wrote in a text message, "I don't think I can comment, honestly."
Johns is a former Walhalla City Council member who was elected to become the Oconee County probate judge in 2010. He is serving his second term in the post.
In 2014, Johns became one of the first Upstate judges to approve marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
Associate Probate Judge Karen W. Lee will temporarily take over all Johns' duties.
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Oconee County probate judge placed on interim suspension