Joe Watson is a former South Carolina Circuit Court Judge and Circuit Solicitor (District Attorney) for Greenville and Pickens Counties. In the decades as an attorney serving in different roles, Joe Watson has successfully prosecuted a Death Penalty case, successfully defended a Death Penalty Case, as well as presided as a judge in a Death Penalty case.
He is a lifelong resident of Greenville, South Carolina. He attended Greenville Public Schools, then went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Furman University in 1975, and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina in 1978. He was admitted to the SC bar that same year. Upon graduation, Watson worked as an Assistant Solicitor in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit under Billy Wilkins and Bill Traxler. In 1982, Joe decided to leave the Solicitor’s office and establish a private law practice.
On May 3, 1985, the Honorable Richard W. Riley, Governor of South Carolina, appointed Joe as Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor to fill the unexpired term of William B. Traxler, Jr. In 1986, 1990, and 1994, Watson was elected to serve four year terms as Solicitor of Pickens and Greenville counties.
In 1997, Joe was elected by South Carolina legislature to serve as Circuit Court Judge. During his five years on the bench he held court in every judicial circuit in the state of South Carolina. After his term, he decided to re-enter private practice in 2002, which continues to this day.
Joe has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN’s “Beyond the Glory,” and CNN as a commentator.