Allen Wigington, center, is sworn in as the Chief Magistrate Judge by Probate Judge Rodney Gibson as his wife, Rosie, holds the Bible.
Allen Wigington, who has served as both sheriff’s deputy and magistrate here, was sworn in as Pickens County’s Chief Magistrate Judge in front of a full courtroom on Wednesday, April 27.
Wigington will fill the unexpired term of former chief magistrate, Larry Ray, that term ending December 31, 2012.
Ray retired on April 25 of this year following his 65th birthday. He served 20 years as chief magistrate judge in Pickens County.
The chief magistrate judge is an elected position, but in the event the office is left vacant, Superior Court judges from the district appoint a replacement.
According to a statement made by Appalachian Judicial Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver at the swearing-in ceremony, all Superior Court judges in the region back Wigington’s appointment.
“We were all completely in agreement that there was only one person who would do the job in a manner that we wanted it done,” she said.
Roger E. Bradley, Amanda H. Mercier and John Worcester-Holland also serve as Superior Court judges in the Appalachian circuit.
After taking the official oath of office, Wigington became emotional as he delivered his acceptance speech.
“This is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility, which I gladly accept,” he said. “For the better part of 15 years, I have been around or in this courthouse. People come for a lot of different reasons. Some are happy experiences like marriage, but you also have to pass judgment, and people are sent to jail. Between that and civil duties this is a very busy office.”
Wigington went on to thank his family for sacrificing the time his position as a local leader has taken away from them.
“I am proud of the opportunity I have to serve, and I am proud that you thought of me and that you think I will hold this position in trust,” he told Superior Court officials. “And I will.”
Wigington began his work in Pickens County as a training officer at the 911 Emergency Communications Center in 1995.
He then went on to become a deputy sheriff here, a criminal investigator and was eventually promoted to the rank of detective sergeant. He was later selected at division commander for the Administrative Services Division.
He also served as interim police chief for Nelson until 2004 and ran for Pickens County Sheriff in 2008.
Wigington lives in Pickens with his wife, Rosie, and two children, Kate and Jack.