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2009-07-17-01

The Supreme Court of South Carolina


ORDER


The Order dated March 18, 2008 setting forth the authority of circuit judges designated as chief judges for administrative purposes is amended to read as follows:

Pursuant to the provisions of S. C. CONST. Art. V, §4,

IT IS ORDERED that the authority of a circuit judge designated as a chief judge for administrative purposes shall include, but not be limited to, the following administrative purposes and acts:

1. To call, or cause to be called, meetings of the County Bar Association for the purpose of preparing civil and criminal rosters and for such other purposes as he or she shall deem necessary. In any circuit with two chief judges for administrative purposes, each chief judge may call, or cause to be called, these meetings for the court for which he or she has been designated chief judge.

2. To set jury and nonjury trial rosters and/or dockets for all civil terms of circuit court and to designate which presiding judge shall hear each roster or rosters. In addition, the chief judge for administrative purposes shall set the common pleas jury and nonjury trial roster for those terms to be established during the first month following this six month period.

To set hearings on bonds, motions, probation revocations and other nonjury general sessions matters and to designate which presiding judge shall hear these matters.

In any circuit with two chief judges for administrative purposes, each chief judge shall assume responsibility for setting rosters and assigning judges to those rosters for the court for which he or she has been designated chief judge.

3. To assist the clerk of court in fulfilling his or her responsibility pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §14-17-210(1976) to assign courtrooms and offices to the presiding circuit and family court judges.

4. To designate the hours of court for each term of circuit court. In those circuits with two chief judges for administrative purposes, this responsibility shall be assumed by the chief judge for administrative purposes for the court of common pleas.

5. To direct and supervise the activities of all circuit court secretaries in the circuit to the extent that it does not unreasonably conflict with their other judicial duties. In those circuits with two chief judges for administrative purposes, this responsibility shall be assumed by the chief judge for administrative purposes for the court of common pleas.

6. To direct the clerks of court and presiding judges to keep and maintain such records as he or she shall direct, upon the approval of the Chief Justice, of the disposition of cases during each term of the circuit court, both civil and criminal. In those circuits with two chief judges for administrative purposes, each chief judge shall assume this responsibility for the court for which he or she has been designated as chief judge.

7. To grant continuances when requested by counsel for good and sufficient legal cause stated in writing prior to the commencement of any term of circuit court, both civil and criminal. In those circuits with two chief judges for administrative purposes, each chief judge shall assume this responsibility for the court for which he or she has been designated as chief judge.

8. To resolve any scheduling and other administrative problems which may arise from time to time in conducting concurrent terms of circuit court, both civil and criminal. In those circuits with two chief judges, this responsibility shall be assumed by the chief judge for administrative purposes for the court of common pleas.

9. To consult with the circuit solicitor as soon after the effective date of this order to determine the dates for the convening of the grand jury in the various counties within the judicial circuit for the ensuing six-month period. Where feasible, the grand jury shall be convened at times other than the opening day of a term of the court of general sessions in order to maximize the effective use of each term of the court of general sessions. The chief judge shall issue an order scheduling such terms of the grand jury in each county within his circuit, including the opening day of a term of general sessions, for the ensuing six-month period. A copy of such order is to be filed with the Office of South Carolina Court Administration. Not withstanding the foregoing, the chief judge for administrative purposes may convene the grand jury at other times during the six-month period as the public interest may necessitate, with a copy of each such order filed with the office of South Carolina Court Administration. In those circuits with two chief judges for administrative purposes, this responsibility shall be assumed by the chief judge for administrative purposes for the court of general sessions.

10. Cases stricken from the file book under Rule 40(j), SCRCP, may only be restored by the chief judge for administrative purposes in each judicial circuit, or by the chief judge for administrative purposes for the court of common pleas in those circuits with two chief judges.

11. To maintain a current record of all scheduling orders issued in the circuit and to provide the record of scheduling orders to the chief judge for administrative purposes subsequently assigned to the circuit.

12. To consider requests to be relieved of appointments to serve as counsel or guardian ad litem for indigents pursuant to Rule 608(f)(8), SCACR.

13. To monitor matters referred to masters-in-equity or special referees to insure timely disposition of the matters. Masters-in-equity and special referees shall continue to have exclusive jurisdiction over the referred matters until rendering a final decision or referring a matter back to the circuit court.

14. To perform such other administrative duties as shall be assigned from time to time by the Chief Justice.

15. Except as specifically authorized herein, no administrative rule affecting the operation of the courts shall be adopted without the prior approval of the Chief Justice.

16. To handle matters brought within the circuit pursuant to federal and state statutes regulating the interception of wire, electronic, or oral communications, sexual exploitation, or cyber crime.

17. As the Presiding Judge of the State Grand Jury, the Chief Judge (General Sessions) of the Fifth Judicial Circuit shall have statewide jurisdiction over matters brought pursuant to federal and state statutes regulating the interception of wire, electronic or oral communications, sexual exploitation, or cyber crime. In the absence or unavailability of the Chief Judge (General Sessions) of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, the Chief Judge (Common Pleas) of the Fifth Judicial Circuit is hereby designated as the Acting Chief Judge (General Sessions) of the Fifth Judicial Circuit and the Acting Presiding Judge of the State Grand Jury.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that when a chief judge for administrative purposes has a conflict in a matter or proceeding and is thereby prevented from performing these duties in a matter or proceeding reserved to the chief judge for administrative purposes, the following procedures shall be followed.

a. In those circuits with one chief administrative judge, the matter or proceeding shall be referred to the Chief Justice for assignment to the chief administrative judge of an adjoining circuit.

b. In those circuits with two chief administrative judges, the matter or proceeding shall be referred to the other chief administrative judge. If the other chief administrative judge is also disqualified, the matter or proceeding shall be referred to the Chief Justice for assignment to the chief administrative judge of an adjoining circuit.

c. Should the chief administrative judge(s) in the circuit and those of an adjoining circuit be disqualified, the matter or proceeding shall be referred to the Chief Justice for assignment to a judge.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if a trial or hearing has been commenced and the judge is unable to proceed, the chief judge for administrative purposes shall assign the trial or hearing to a successor judge. If the chief administrative judge has a conflict and is thereby prevented from performing this duty, the matter shall be referred to the Chief Justice to assign a successor judge. The successor judge may proceed with the trial or hearing upon certifying familiarity with the record and determining that the proceedings may be completed without prejudice to the parties. In a hearing or a trial without a jury, the successor judge shall at the request of a party recall any witness whose testimony is material and disputed and who is available to testify without undue burden. A successor judge may provide for the recall of any witnesses.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order shall remain in effect until amended or rescinded by Order of the Chief Justice.

  s/Jean Hoefer Toal
Jean Hoefer Toal
Chief Justice

July 17, 2009
Columbia, South Carolina