Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Department
Chief Judge James E. Lockemy

Chief Judge James E. Lockemy was born in Dillon, SC where he presently resides. After graduating from Dillon High School, he attended The Citadel leaving in his second year after deciding to get married. Briefly, he attended Coastal Carolina and then returned to Dillon and worked as a bagboy at a local supermarket and delivered morning newspapers while achieving his bachelor's degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He then attended law school at the University of South Carolina. After graduating from law school and passing the Bar, Chief Judge Lockemy entered the United States Army acquiring the rank of Captain while assigned to the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

After completing his three year tour of duty, he joined the South Carolina Army National Guard and also accepted a position as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond. While in Washington, D.C., he served as a legal counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Strom Thurmond presented him for admission to the United States Supreme Court. During his 43 years of military service, Chief Judge Lockemy was the recipient of seventeen awards, including The Legion of Merit. He was activated from the National Guard and served a tour of duty in war-torn Kosovo. He retired from active service as a full Colonel. He then entered the South Military Department where he retired as a Major General.

In 1982, he was elected to the House of Representatives where he served for seven years. In 1980, Judge Lockemy began coaching youth baseball and founded the Rangers, a team he coached for 35 years. He has led the Dillon All-Star baseball team to the state tournament on two occasions, finishing as first runner up in 1996. In 1989, he was chosen as Dillon County Citizen of the Year and the Dillon County Veteran of the Year in 1999. Active in Community Theater, Chief Judge Lockemy received the Irving Award for Best Actor by the Florence Little Theatre for his role as John Quincy Adams in The Amistad Case. Other roles include Colonel Jessup in A Few Good Men, Oscar in The Odd Couple and various characters in many British comedies.

He was elected as a Circuit Judge in 1989 where he served for eighteen years. Chief Judge Lockemy was then elected as a Judge for the South Carolina Court of Appeals and elected Chief Judge in 2016 where he continues to serve. In the South Carolina Judiciary, he served as President of the Circuit Judges’ Association.

In 1995, he was chosen as a delegate from his state for the National Conference of State Trial Judges of the Judicial Division of the ABA. He later was elected to serve on the Conference’s Executive Board. Upon his election to the Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Lockemy moved to the Appellate Judges’ Conference. He was elected Chair of that Conference in 2018. He now serves as Chair of the Appellate Judges’ Education Institute (AJEI).

He is an active Kiwanian having served as the local president and lieutenant governor. Chief Judge Lockemy is completing his third year as an Adjunct Professor in Legal History at the University of South Carolina Law School. In 2012, Judge Lockemy received his Master's Degree in History from The Citadel and currently is working to complete his PH. D. in History from the University of South Carolina. Judge Lockemy has two sons, Jamie and Will, and eleven grandchildren.

Photo of Justice James Lockemy
Chief Judge James E. Lockemy
Court of Appeals
1220 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 734-1890