On Thursday, May 16, 2024, WECT 6 News reported that Columbus County Magistrate Robert Worley had been suspended on accusations that he used his position for personal gain.

According to reports, Chief District Court Judge Scott L. Ussery filed an order on May 8th suspending Worley from his duties as magistrate. The suspension came in response to complaints filed by Chief Douglas Ipock of the Whiteville Police Department, as well as Major William Hinz and Lieutenant Riggins of the WPD.

Chief Ipock’s complaint noted disparaging remarks Worley had allegedly made about WPD officers in public, calling into question his ability to fairly preside over cases involving law enforcement. Major Hinz and Lieutenant Riggins both disclosed encounters with Worley in April, where he visited the station to dispute incidents involving his wife. They claimed Worley admitted to looking up information on pending charges of people involved through the internal AOC case records system, which is meant for official duties only.

Additionally, a Facebook post from Worley threatening to publicly call out officers for not doing their jobs properly if issues were not resolved was presented as part of the evidence. This was not the first disagreement between Worley and the police department, as Officer Cruz also detailed a past encounter in October 2023 where Worley attempted to engage with someone fleeing Walmart security.

Judge Ussery’s suspension order stated that if the accusations were founded, it could warrant Worley’s removal from duty, as such conduct violated ethical standards and integrity of the judiciary. Using internal systems and position for personal disputes rather than official proceedings eroded public trust. Worley would appear in court on May 30th regarding the suspension petition.



Source: WECT 6 News