The Deputy Solicitor of the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office won the statewide award for prosecution excellence this week.
Sean Thornton won the 2012 Ernest F. Hollings Award for Excellence in State Prosecution for his outstanding work in General Sessions Court. The award was presented by U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles recently at the annual Solicitor’s Conference in Myrtle Beach.
Thornton, 41, is a 1998 graduate of the Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia. That same year he relocated to South Carolina, where he began work at a public defender’s office and then as an Assistant Solicitor at the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. Thornton’s prowess as an aggressive and diligent trial lawyer soon became quite apparent. He was promoted in 2006 as the Deputy Solicitor tasked with managing four of the five counties of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit and was again promoted in 2011 to oversee all five counties.
As Deputy Solicitor, Thornton manages dozens of employees who are spread out among six offices in five counties. In addition to many administrative duties, he prosecutes some of the office’s most difficult cases. For the past three years, he was the senior attorney on the Career Criminal Prosecution Team. Last year alone, the team was responsible for eight life sentences.
“Some prosecutors are excellent administrators and some are great trial lawyers,” said Solicitor Duffie Stone. “Sean Thornton is both. We are fortunate to have him here.”
Peggy Grill, victim’s advocate in Hampton County, won the 2012 Golden Advocate Award at the annual Victim
Advocates Forum held during the Solicitor’s Conference in Myrtle Beach.
Grill, a native of North Carolina, moved to Varnville in 1987. After her two boys were grown, she began working as a victim’s advocate.
“I loved it right from the start,” she said. “This job is another way for me to be a mother, to help crime victims navigate the criminal justice system and to help them as they begin moving on with their lives.”
Grill has been with the office for 11 years.
“The empathy and care she shows victims is indicative of someone who views her position not as a job, but as a calling,” Stone said. “Peggy has a great heart. She cares about the community, the office and the victims she represents. This is an overdue recognition for her.”