Instructions for Completing the Municipal Court Caseload Report
1. Caseload Information by Category
These are instructions for completing the Municipal Court Caseload Report to be sent to the Office of S.C. Court Administration. These instructions are only to be used as a guide in completing the report, and are to be used only for reporting the caseload activity which has already taken place.
CASELOAD INFORMATION BY CATEGORY
The Criminal case section of your report is broken down into three major state crime categories: DUI, Other Traffic and Non-Traffic. The remaining section is for Municipal Ordinances. In the state crimes section, information on those cases involving state statutory offenses which were handled by your Municipal Court should be reported.
Only the number of 1st Offense D.U.I. cases handled by the court should be noted here.
Please note the number of cases involving a statutory offense relating to the operation of a motor vehicle, which are within the trial jurisdiction. (Common examples of such offenses are violation of inspection law, driving under suspension (D.U.S.), no driver's license, operating an uninsured vehicle, etc.).
Please note all cases resulting from a violation of statutory law, which are within the trial jurisdiction of the Municipal Courts. (Simple assault and disorderly conduct are two statutory offenses which might fall within this category).
The line for Municipal Ordinances should be reserved for reporting those cases resulting from the violation of some specific ordinance the municipality has enacted. All municipal ordinances violations (traffic and non-traffic) filed with, and disposed of by, the court should be consolidated and reported on this line. (NOTE: the sole exception here is parking tickets. Please do not include in this section any statistical information relating to the issuance of parking tickets). Also, please be careful not to "double report" cases, i.e. if the municipality has adopted a state law and now enforces it as a municipal ordinance, report the filing and disposition of that case only once in this section.
Please keep in mind that the "Criminal Cases" section of your report should only include those cases which are triable in the Municipal Court. Do not include in this section cases over which a
2. Caseload Information by Column
(a) Cases Pending First of Period
The pending first of period column is the first of six reporting columns in the Criminal Cases sections of your report. In this column, enter the total number of cases that have been filed with the court prior to the first day of the reporting period, but not yet concluded by that date. To determine the date that a case should be counted as filed in the court, the number which you will enter in this column will represent cases for which the court had acquired a charging paper prior to the first day of the reporting period.
Arriving at this pending first of period figure for the first report may present some difficulty, depending on the record-keeping system used by the Municipal Court. Those courts which keep a running list of pending cases should encounter little difficulty in completing this part of the report. The number of cases pending at the first of the period should be the same as the cases pending at the end of the last period. However, if the court does not keep such a list, it will be necessary to review the docket book in order to isolate and categorize those cases which were pending on, for example, January 1, 1998. This initial review may seem time consuming, but should prove to be beneficial in two respects: First, there will be an accurate numerical summary of any cases awaiting disposition; Second, this should be the only time this type of review will be necessary to determine your pending first of period figures.
(b) Cases Filed During Period
A case should be counted as "filed" with the court only when it has received a copy of the charging paper for that case. For a 1st Offense D.U.I. case, or other state traffic case, this charging paper will be the Uniform Traffic Ticket. For a non-traffic criminal case, the charging paper will usually be an arrest warrant. The charging paper for a case involving some violation of a Municipal Ordinance will vary according to the town's administrative procedures, but will usually consist of some citation which compels the violator to pay a fine or appear in court.
To determine the date that a case is filed with the court, it is necessary to identify the date on which the court acquired a copy of that charging paper. For instance, if a policeman in the town issues a traffic ticket on February 28, but does not turn in the court's copy of that ticket until March 1, that case should be counted as "filed" on March 1. For purposes of this report, only count those cases for which the court has a copy of the charging paper. If, for example, a judge in the court has issued an arrest warrant, but it has not been served and returned to the court, there is not yet a case which needs to be reported on this form. Therefore, cases reported in this column will be those for which the court acquired the charging paper during the reporting period.
Cases Concluded During Period
The "Concluded During Period" section of this report consists of three columns. Please remember that cases should be reported in these columns only if they were disposed of during the reporting period by the Municipal Court. The following criteria should help in determining the appropriate column:
(c) Cases Concluded by Jury Trial
Any case in which a jury was requested and convened or which was concluded during the reporting period by the verdict of a jury should be included on the appropriate category line in this column. i.e., if the jurors were paid, include those cases in this category.
(d) Cases Concluded by Non-Jury Trial
Please note in this column any case in which a judge in the Municipal Court actually made a decision regarding the guilt or innocence of a defendant.
(e) Cases Concluded by Forfeiture
Guilty Plea or Other Disposition In this column, consolidate all cases that were disposed of by: Forfeiture of Bond (simply paying a traffic ticket before trial and then not appearing in court on the trial date is an example of a "Forfeiture"); a defendant's guilty plea, nol-prossed by the Solicitor or Law Enforcement Officer; transfer to another court, etc. In essence, any case which was disposed of by the court during the reporting period without requiring a verdict by a jury or judge should be reported in this column.
(f) Cases Pending End of Period
This column is used to show the number of cases which were pending first of period, or filed during the period, that were not concluded during the reporting period. Once you have determined the "Pending End of Period" figures are determined for your first report, reporting for the second reporting period will be greatly simplified. If accurate, those numbers can then be transferred to the next report as cases "Pending First of Period". If, for example, a total of twenty (20) Criminal Cases are reported as "Pending End of Period" on the current report, then the "Pending First of Period" column on the next report will be exactly the same (i.e., a total of twenty (20) cases). If there is any variance between the two figures for the following period, then the report is incorrect.
Here is the formula to use in double-checking the numerical accuracy of your report:
PENDING FIRST OF PERIOD
FILED DURING PERIOD
TOTAL CASES CONCLUDED>
3. Age of Pending State Criminal Cases
In this section of the report, the focus is determining how long any State Criminal Case has been awaiting disposition in the court. Only report State Criminal Cases in the "Age of Pending Criminal Cases" section. Do not report municipal ordinances.
To determine the age of a pending case, follow this procedure: Make sure there is a copy of the appropriate charging paper in the records. The date on which the charging paper was received will represent the "filing date" for that case. If the case is not concluded during the reporting period, then it will be shown in the appropriate category as "Cases Pending End of Period". Then, counting from the filing date, determine how long that case has been pending as of the last day of the reporting period.
Lines 1-4 in this section note the time span which will correspond to the age of the pending case(s). Two general rules should be of assistance in determining the "age" of a case; 1) If it is a new case and is still pending at the end of this month, then that case will be noted on Line 1, "1-30 Days". If a case is reported as "Pending First of Period" and remains pending at the end of this month, that case will be at least 31 days old, and so on.
Note that the columns in this section (D.U.I., Other Traffic, and Non-Traffic) correspond to the categories under the three "Criminal Cases" sections. Therefore, if there are three (3) D.U.I. Cases as "Pending End of Period" in the "Criminal Cases", section, then the "Total Pending" (Line 5) in the D.U.I. column of this section will also be three (3). The same is true for "Other Traffic" and "Non-Traffic" cases.
4. Criminal Case More Than 60 Days Old
All D.U.I., Other Traffic and Non-Traffic cases which have been pending more than 60 days (Lines 3 and 4) must be individually listed on the companion report "Criminal Cases More Than 60 Days Old" (SCCA/609). For each of those cases enter the defendant name, filing date, warrant or ticket number, offense, the reason the case had not reached disposition within 60 days, and the scheduled trial date. If additional lines are needed, please make copies of the form before listing the cases.
If the above instructions are unclear, or pose a problem for a particular court, please contact Court Administration at (803) 734-1800 before submitting the report.
5. General Report Instructions
In order to identify the court and preparer of the caseload report, the information provided at the top and bottom of the form, (sides one and two) is of special importance. Please print or type in these spaces:
If your Municipal Court has only one judge and he/she performed all judicial functions noted in the report, please provide his/her name in the space provided. If more than one individual conducted trials and rendered decisions reflected in the report, please list the names of all such persons in that space. (However, please note that this is a summary report; the numbers which are provided should reflect cumulative totals for all judicial activity conducted in the municipal court).
Provide on this line the name of the city, or town, which the court serves.
Provide on this line the name of the county where the municipality is located.
4) "Person Completing This Form"
In this space at the bottom of the form enter the name of the individual who filled out the report. If Court Administration has any questions about the report, it will then be able to contact this person directly.
5) "Telephone Number"
This information is very important. In this space, please provide the area code, phone number (and extension) of the person that may be contacted in connection with the report.
6) "Fax Number"
Please provide this number, if there is a fax machine, so that any important information may be faxed to you as needed.
7) "Municipality Address"
Please provide the mailing address of the municipal court office.
These instructions are only general guidelines for you to follow in filling out the caseload report to Court Administration. They make absolutely no attempt to tell you how to conduct matters of a legal nature within the court. The purpose of these instructions is to aid the court in reporting those judicial activities outlined above.
Reports should be received by Court Administration within twenty days from the end of each reporting period. A duplicate copy of the report should be kept for the court's office records.
If you have any questions or a particular problem arises as you fill out your report, please contact Court Administration before report is sent at (803) 734-1800. A member of our staff will be happy to help resolve any uncertainties at that time. Inquiries or comments to this office can be sent to:
South Carolina Court Administration
1220 Senate Street (2nd Floor)
Columbia, South Carolina 29201-3739
If, after submitting the report, an error is discovered, please contact Court Administration as soon as possible. Call (803) 734-1800 or submit a revised report via fax to (803) 734-1821or by mail to the above address. If a revised report is submitted please make sure the report is clearly marked "REVISED" in the upper right corner. There is no penalty for reporting such an error.
If Court Administration discovers an error in the report, the person named at the bottom of the form will be called. For this reason, it is very important that an exact copy of each report is kept on file. The discovery of an error will not be used to penalize the court.