The Supreme Court of South Carolina
Re: Family Court Forms for Provisional Appointment of Counsel During COVID-19
Pursuant to the provisions of Article V, Section 4 of the South Carolina Constitution,
IT IS ORDERED that SCCA 579 – Notice of Appointment of Counsel bearing a date of (04/2020) and SCCA 580 – Order Relieving Counsel bearing a date of (04/2020) are approved for use in the family courts, effective immediately. Additionally, the attached Procedure for Provisional Appointment of Counsel bearing a date of (4/2020) is approved and provided as reference to accompany the above listed forms.
The forms are available on the South Carolina Judicial Department website at http://www.sccourts.org/forms.
s/Donald W. Beatty
Donald W. Beatty
Chief Justice of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
April 24, 2020
Procedure for Provisional Appointment of Counsel During COVID-19
1. DSS will file petition with the Clerk of Court and request a hearing be set. DSS will also notify the Clerk of the number of Defendants in the case for the purpose of the Emergency Probable Cause (EPC) hearing.
2. The Clerk of Court will go down the list of Family Court Indigent Defense Contract Attorneys (IDCA) and appoint an attorney for each defendant. The attorney’s contact information will be put on the Notice of Appointment form and a copy of the form will be attached to the pleadings filed by DSS and emailed to the IDCA.
3. The IDCA will make every effort to contact the client and meet with the client to prepare for the remote hearing and to get the Affidavit of Indigency or a certification of indigency completed. The completed Affidavit or certification should be emailed to the Court prior to the remote hearing so that the presiding judge will have it to determine if the defendant is indigent.
In light of the hearing being conducted using video conferencing, if the Affidavit or certification cannot be completed, the Judge may conduct the screening using the Screening Questions tool.
4. During the remote hearing, the Judge will advise the defendant of his/her right to counsel and ask if they are able to hire an attorney. If not, then the Judge will ask if they would like for the court to determine if they qualify to have an attorney appointed to represent them. The Judge will notify the defendant that there is a mandatory $40 application fee and that the Court will give him/her time to pay the fee.
5. If it is determined that the defendant qualifies, then the Court will appoint the provisionally appointed IDCA to represent the defendant for the remainder of the case. The Clerk should complete a form Order of Appointment for the Judge to sign and then email the filed Order to the attorney immediately after the hearing. This way everyone will know at the conclusion of the hearing who the attorney will be for the clients.
If it is determined that the defendant is not indigent, the Court should note that the IDCA will represent the defendant for the purpose of the EPC hearing only and proceed with the hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court shall relieve the IDCA. The Clerk should complete a form Order Relieving Counsel for the Judge to sign and then email the filed Order to the attorney immediately after the hearing.
6. As part of the Court’s Order of the hearing, the Court should order that the defendant pay the $40 application fee through the Clerk of Court no later than a reasonable date set by the Court.