April 14, 1977


TO: All Magistrates
FROM: Neal Forney, Assistant Director
RE: Intermingling Magistrate's Funds with Private Funds

The Executive Secretary of the Board of Commissioners on Judicial Standards has determined that some magistrates are using their magistrate bank accounts for only some of the monies that they collect and in some cases magistrates have no bank account at all. The Board has brought this to our attention with the request that the situation be corrected.

You are requested to take notice of the provisions of S.C. Code Ann. § 4-11-140. This section provides that it shall be unlawful for any county official, such as the magistrate, to deposit public funds with individual or private funds in any bank account or other depository in this State or to withdraw any such public funds for any purpose other than that for which they were received and deposited. Magistrates violating this law are subject to removal from office for malfeasance in office.

It is directed that magistrates have a bank account for the magistrate's office and deposit in their magistrate's bank account all monies received by them in their official capacity. The deposit of official funds shall be within a reasonable time, not more than five working days, after receipt of such funds. All such disbursements should be made by check from the magistrate's account with no exceptions.

In addition to the keeping of a bank account and the processing of official funds through it, magistrates should comply with all of the provisions of §§ 22-1-10 and 22-3-1010 of the Code as relates to magistrates issuing receipts for official funds.