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South Carolina Court Administration
South Carolina Supreme Court
Columbia , South Carolina

ROSALYN W. FRIERSON
DIRECTOR

 

 

 

 

1015 SUMTER STREET, SUITE 200
COLUMBIA , SOUTH CAROLINA 29201
TELEPHONE: (803) 734-1800
FAX: (803) 734-1355
E-MAIL: rfrierson@sccourts.org

MEMORANDUM

TO:
Magistrates and Municipal Judges
FROM:
Robert L. McCurdy, Staff Attorney
RE:
Statutory provisions for the distribution of revenue generated by the circuit courts, family courts, magistrates courts and municipal courts; fees and related charges of the registers of deeds
DATE: June 20, 2006

This memorandum contains information related to magistrate and municipal courts only. However, the table of contents preceding the text of the fees and assessments memorandum contains information pertaining to all levels of court. Please note that the text of the attached fees and assessments memorandum begins with the Roman numeral of the table of contents which addresses magistrate and municipal courts. The text of the fees and assessments memorandum concerning revenues generated specifically in circuit court, family court, and the register of deeds will be distributed to those entities in a separate document. As information, this memorandum contains attachments used in all levels of court.

This past legislative term legislation was passed that will impact the collection, distribution and reporting of court generated revenues. The following is a brief explanation of the new provisions. Please note that numbers 1, 2, and 3 below are newly amended and added statutes. The remainder of numbers 4 through 12 below are temporary provisos from the 2006 - 2007 General Appropriations Act that were repeated verbatim as they appeared in the 2005 - 2006 General AppropriationsAct, and require no change intheprevious procedure for collection and distribution of court generated revenue, except for amendments to numbers 9 and 12.

The entire fees and assessments memorandum for fiscal year 2006-2007 will not be distributed in hard copy, but is available on the Judicial Department website at www.sccourts.org under “What’s New.” You may wish to download and print the memoranda for your reference.

1. Effective May 9, 2006, Act No. 273 of 2006 amended Section 56-5-6450 relating to violations of the child restraint law. Prior to the amendment, assessments and surcharges were not applied to convictions for those violations. The statute, as amended, requires adding assessments and surcharges to fines levied for child restraint law convictions.

2. Effective June 9, 2006, R420 (Act Number not yet assigned) adds Section 27-37-155. The statute requires that a defendant in a commercial landlord/tenant eviction pay rent into court pending the outcome of the case. Subsection (B)(5) allows the collecting court to collect an additional 3% of each payment when made through the court. The 3% shall be retained by the court to defray collection costs.

3. Effective June 14, 2006, R419 (Act Number not yet assigned) adds Section 23-50-35 to provide that a court of applicable jurisdiction may order a convicted defendant to reimburse a Crimestoppers organization, in an amount not to exceed $2000, that paid a reward to an informant which led to the conviction. Payments by the defendant shall be made directly to the Crimestoppers organization and not through the court.

4. Effective July 1, 2006, Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the 2006 - 2007 General Appropriations Act requires that any person who is convicted of, pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, or forfeits bond for an offense tried in general sessions, magistrate's, or municipal court pay an assessment equal to 107.5% of the fine imposed. A similar provision was contained in last year’s Temporary Provisos. The fee was previously 100%, which can be found in Sections 14-1-206, 207, and 208. However, the Temporary Provisions suspend all inconsistent laws for the fiscal year 2006- 2007. The increase in assessment requires that the percentage splits of these fees be amended. The assessment in magistrate's and municipal court will be split 88.84% state/11.16% county.

5. Effective July 1, 2006, Section 35.10 of the Temporary Provisions of the 2006 - 2007 General Appropriations Act raises the application fee for public defender services to $40.00. Similarly to number one above, the previous fee of $25.00 can be found in Section 17-3-30(B), but is suspended as inconsistent law for the fiscal year 2006 - 2007.

6. Effective July 1, 2006, Section 35.12 of the Temporary Provisions of the 2006 – 2007 General Appropriations Act provides procedures for the collection, distribution, and reporting of the $40.00 Public Defender Application Fee. The Section requires that any individual asking for a court appointed attorney, or the parents or legal guardian of any juvenile brought before the court, file application for a public defender, and such representation creates a claim against the assets and estate of the person who is provided counsel, or the parents or legal guardians of a juvenile provided counsel. Finally, this Section provides that any unpaid representation fees may be reduced to judgment against those individuals, parents, or legal guardians.

7. Effective July 1, 2006, Section 35.13 of the Temporary Provisions of the 2006 – 2007 General Appropriations Act requires that every person placed on probation on or after July 1, 2006, who is represented by a public defender or appointed counsel, shall be assessed a fee of $500.00. These funds shall be collected by the clerk on a monthly basis and forwarded to the Office of Indigent Defense to be divided between the Conflict Fund and the Defense of Indigents/Per Capita Fund. Provided, however, in those counties which contract with appointed counsel other than the public defender, one half of the fee collected may be remitted by the clerk to the county which contracts for payment of the services.

8. Effective July 1, 2006, Section 33.7 of the Temporary Provisions of the 2006 – 2007 General Appropriations Act requires that, in addition to all other assessments and surcharges, during fiscal year 2006 – 2007, a $100.00 surcharge is levied on all fines, forfeitures, escheatments, or other monetary penalties imposed in the general sessions court or magistrates or municipal court for misdemeanor or felony drug offenses. All revenues collected pursuant to this Section must be forwarded to the State Treasurer, who shall transmit these funds to the Prosecution Coordination Commission for drug treatment court. No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended. This Section also authorizes the State Treasurer and State Auditor to audit local jurisdictions to ensure that revenues are being handled properly.

9. Effective July 1, 2006, Section 73.3 of the Temporary Provisions of the 2006 – 2007 General Appropriations Act requires that, in addition to all other assessments and surcharges, during fiscal year 2006 – 2007, a $25.00 surcharge is levied on all fines, forfeitures, escheatments, or other monetary penalties imposed in the general sessions court or in magistrates or municipal court for misdemeanor traffic offenses or for non-traffic violations. No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended. However, no portion of the surcharge may be applied toward parking violations created by state law or local ordinance. These revenues shall be transmitted to the State Treasurer who shall distribute the money to numerous law enforcement agencies as prescribed by the Section. This Section also authorizes the State Treasurer and State Auditor to audit local jurisdictions to ensure that revenues are being handled properly.

10. Effective July 1, 2006, Section 32.5 of the Temporary Provisions of the 2006 – 2007 General Appropriations Act provides that the State of South Carolina, or a person or entity acting on behalf of the State of South Carolina, is not required to pay civil filing fees in proceedings brought under Chapter 48 of Title 44, the Sexually Violent Predator Act.

11. Effective July 1, 2006, Section 72.100 of the Temporary Provisions of the 2006 – 2007 General Appropriations Act requires that a $25.00 assessment be imposed on all summons and complaints and interpleader actions filed in magistrate court, and a $10.00 assessment be imposed on all other civil filings in magistrate court, except no filing fee, nor an additional assessment, is required on restraining orders. The additional $25.00 and $10.00 assessment must be forwarded to the State Treasurer for distribution.

12. Effective July 1, 2006, Section 72.92 of the Temporary Provisions of the 2006-2007 General Appropriations Act authorizes the State Auditor to investigate the collection and distribution of court generated revenue at any level of court based upon a random selection process. The text of proviso 72.92 is not provided in this memorandum.

Copies of any of the legislation referenced above may be obtained by contacting Legislative Information at 1-800-922-1539 or by visiting their website at http://www.scstatehouse.net.

The enclosed memorandum has been updated to reflect these amendments and discusses these changes in more detail. This memorandum supersedes prior memoranda from Court Administration on the collection and distribution of court generated revenue. It attempts to outline and explain the statutory procedures for collecting and distributing revenues in the circuit, family, magistrate, and municipal courts as well as the register of deeds. Examples of several of the distributions covered in the text of the memorandum appear in the attachments.

The actual distribution of revenue generated by the circuit, family, and magistrate courts is handled by the county treasurer in most cases. City treasurers disburse monies generated by the municipal courts. The treasurers are required to remit the funds to the State Treasurer monthly on such forms and in such manner as is required by him. The county treasurer can determine which funds should be transmitted to the State Treasurer by referring to the clerks' remittance form which is included as "Attachment D", the magistrates' remittance form which is included as "Attachment E", or the magistrates' docket sheets. The city treasurer can determine which funds should be transmitted to the State Treasurer by referring to the municipal courts' remittance form which is included as "Attachment F". Also, see “Attachment K” for a schedule of civil filing fees collected in magistrate’s court. Additional information on how to specifically distribute funds is provided in the clerk's and magistrate's monthly report to the auditor and/or treasurer. Also, a judge’s total fine and assessment calculator is included as “Attachment M .”

In this discussion of the distribution of funds, the general rule for each court is stated and followed by an explanation of the statutory exceptions for distribution. The outline which precedes the memorandum summarizes its contents. Please note in the memorandum specific time guidelines pertaining to the transmittal of these revenues. Strict, prompt adherence to the reporting guidelines is required.

Please provide copies of this memorandum to all members of your staff whose duties relate to the collection or distribution of court revenues. If you or your staff has any questions concerning the collection or distribution of revenue, do not hesitate to contact this office.

cc: 

Municipal Treasurers

THE COMPLETE MEMORANDUM IS POSTED UNDER THE WHAT’S NEW SECTION AT WWW.SCCOURTS.ORG.