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2007-08-27-01

The Supreme Court of South Carolina

RE:  Continuance of Summary Court Cases When Arresting Officer on Military Duty


O R D E R


I FIND THAT some magistrate and municipal court judges are dismissing criminal and traffic cases within their jurisdiction when the arresting officers are unavoidably unavailable for trial due to their service in the National Guard or Reserves, thereby unfairly depriving the State of their ability to prosecute those cases.  Therefore, pursuant to the provisions of Article V, Section 4, South Carolina Constitution,

IT IS ORDERED that magistrates and municipal judges shall grant continuances in those criminal and traffic cases where the arresting officer is unavailable for trial due to their service in the National Guard or Reserves.  The granting of such continuance is contingent upon the arresting officer’s providing written notification with supporting documentation to the court as early as possible prior to the date set for trial of that officer’s unavailability for court due to such service.  This notification shall include the arresting officer’s date of return from such service, if known.  Finally, any arresting officer who receives a continuance pursuant to this Order must immediately notify the court of that officer’s availability upon return from their service in the National Guard or Reserve.  Non-compliance by law enforcement with the requirements of this Order may result in the dismissal of affected cases. 

The provisions of this Order are effective immediately and remain in effect unless amended or revoked by subsequent Order of the Chief Justice.

  s/ Jean H. Toal_____________________ 
Jean H. Toal
Chief Justice

August 27, 2007
Columbia, South Carolina