Future unknown for Solicitor Barbara Morgan

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, February 1, 2008

AIKEN, S.C. --- She still has nearly a year to go, but South Carolina 2nd Circuit Solicitor Barbara Morgan won't seek re-election. And word is, she might have bigger plans awaiting her.

Morgan and I went to lunch on Friday, to talk about her plans for the future in a candid interview.

Changes are, you may know Solicitor Morgan behind her desk looking at cases, or in the courtroom prosecuting them. But, how about in a restaurant over lunch? There, she reflected on how things have changes, now in her 19th year as Solicitor.

"Case load was small. It was pre-CSI. It was pre-DNA," says Morgan.

News 12: "For the last 19 years, you've got to have some challenges. What are some of the biggest ones you've faced?"

Morgan: "It was quite a challenge as a woman cause there had only been 1 woman before me in the state. They weren't quite sure what to do with a woman in that position. People aren't always sure. Do they think you're tough enough? Do they think you can handle the pressure."

"We've dealt with some horrible cases, but the challenge is... the most difficult thing was the very first death penalty I did," Morgan said. "I was young. And when I was young, I thought maybe the death penalty is wrong. I don't feel that way not, but it's an incredible responsibility."

Morgan says no case has ever haunted her, even the tougher ones, like a double murder case.

"The reason why it doesn't haunt me is the wonders and the gifts are you get to be close to the victims family," says Morgan.

And, she's learned a lot on the job too.

"To never think you know everything. The second you think you know it, you are a fool. And to be prepared for the unexpected," says Morgan.

Morgan says it would be an honor to be a U.S. Attorney.

"But I told some people this morning, it's gray space announcing I was not going to run. It allows me to gently close a chapter and to be open to possibilities and I don't have to know what they are," says Morgan.

News 12: "Aside from work, do you like Aiken?"

Morgan: "I love Aiken. I love the 2nd Circuit. I love Aiken. I'm grateful beyond words on my day-to-day life and that's pretty neat."

In her time left in office, Morgan is looking forward to watching the Child Advocacy Center grow. Her advice for the next Solicitor would be to: "not be afraid of the truth. Principles are everything, not politics. Be good to everyone."

Aiken attorney J. Strom Thurmond Jr. says he will seek the seat. He worked as an assistant to Morgan from 1999 to 2001 and was South Carolina's U.S. Attorney from 2001 to 2005.

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