In January 2006, Duffie Stone became Solicitor of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit, succeeding Randolph Murdaugh of Hampton, S.C., whose family had run the office for 86 years. He has since been re-elected in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
In 2011, Stone was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to serve on the S.C. Commission on Prosecution Coordination, a group of high-ranking officials responsible for coordinating all aspects of criminal prosecution in South Carolina. The following year, he was named to the Board of Directors of the National District Attorneys Association. The NDAA, whose membership includes District Attorneys from across the country,is based in Alexandria,Va. The NDAA was formed in 1950 and represents the interests of prosecutors and influences federal and national policies affecting law enforcement and prosecution across the United States. In 2016, Stone was selected by NDAA President Mike Ramos, the district attorney of San Bernardino, Calif., to serve on the NDAA's Executive Working Group.
Stone has created a modern and professional prosecutor’s office that works to improve the communities it serves. His first order of business was to create a vertical prosecution system in which attorneys are assigned to each case from arrest to conclusion, resulting in increased accountability and effectiveness. An on-call system pairs prosecutors with law enforcement agencies to advise them throughout investigations. The result has been more complete, higher-quality cases when they are forwarded to the Solicitor’s Office for prosecution.
Seeking to bolster the services provided to crime victims, he tripled the number of victim’s advocates, expanded a worthless check program to collect money for businesses that receive bad checks and lobbied for special legislation allowing his office to prosecute first-offense criminal domestic violence cases in the same courtroom as murderers, rapists and burglars. Governor Haley appointed Stone to the state's Task Force on Domestic Violence in 2015. He also serves on the state's Domestic Violence Advisory Committee.
Stone instituted a Career Criminal Prosecution Unit consisting of experienced attorneys and investigators to target defendants based on their criminal history and the damage they inflict to society, not the specific crime they are charged with. This fits with the prevailing theory in law enforcement that a small group of criminals is responsible for the bulk of crime in any given area.
In 2014, the office began implementing an intelligence-based prosecution approach, in part by utilizing a new electronic case management system that facilitates the sharing of information across jurisdictional boundaries. The cloud-based system includes a suite of analytical tools to evaluate operations and automated workflows to increase efficiency. Many facets of the office will become paperless, including receiving information from law enforcement and other sources as well as the distribution of discovery materials to defense attorneys. The result will be faster, more effective prosecutions and a more productive use of court time.
A native of South Carolina, Stone is a graduate of Wofford College and the University of South Carolina School of Law. In 1988, he clerked for Circuit Court Judge Sidney Floyd before joining the Richland County Solicitor’s Office the following year. As an assistant solicitor and team leader, Stone prosecuted cases against repeat offenders, seized assets from drug dealers and fought to help crime-ridden neighborhoods.
In 1993, Stone served as executive director of the S.C. Sentencing Guidelines Commission and was named Young Lawyer of the Year by the S.C. Bar. In 1994, he went into private practice at Lewis, Reeves and Stone, where he performed insurance defense work, including defending law enforcement and other government agencies that were being sued.
Stone moved to Beaufort County in 1997 and opened his own law office. He worked part-time as an assistant solicitor at the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, where he handled many of the office’s Beaufort County cases prior to being named Solicitor.