City of Charleston Homeless Court Pilot Program
At the request of the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission, Chief Justice Pleicones has signed an order creating a Homeless Court Program in Charleston.
The Supreme Court of South Carolina
Re: Charleston Homeless Court ProgramAppellate Case No. 2016-002002
The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission has petitioned the Supreme Court of South Carolina to create a pilot program establishing a homeless court in the City of Charleston Municipal Court (hereinafter "Charleston Homeless Court Program") to handle minor offenses pertaining to qualified homeless participants. There is a significant need to treat and rehabilitate those qualified homeless participants. Therefore, the Charleston Homeless Court Program will address this need and assist in the disposition of minor offenses and help direct treatment and rehabilitative services for homeless participants.
Establishment of the Charleston Homeless Court Program
Pursuant to the provisions of S.C. Const. art. V, § 4, it is ordered that a program be established in the City of Charleston, South Carolina Municipal Court creating a "Homeless Court" for minor criminal offenses properly filed and subject to jurisdiction and venue in the City of Charleston Municipal Court, or properly transferred to the City pursuant to § 15-7-100 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. In addition to their other duties as Municipal Court Judges, The Honorable Joseph Mendelsohn and the Honorable Alesia Rico Flores shall be assigned to preside over the Charleston Homeless Court.
Upon successful completion by the participant, the Charleston Homeless Court Program will notify the Municipal Court. If a homeless participant fails to complete the program, or voluntarily withdraws, the charges shall be referred back to the Municipal Court for disposition.
The Charleston Homeless Court Program will track data or metrics to determine the Program's rate of success. These metrics will include: (1) the number of participants referred to the Charleston Homeless Court Program; (2) the number of participants who successfully complete the program, with success defined as completing a service provider's plan, appearing at the Homeless Court, and having the charges dismissed or reduced; (3) the number of service providers who referred participants to the Program; (4) the number of volunteer attorneys who assist with the Program; (5) the number of participants who did not receive additional charges for six months after completion of the program; (6) the five charges most frequently addressed by the Program; and (7) the number of participants who were stably housed upon completion of the Program. The metrics will be tracked through the One80 Place Homeless Justice Project and the City of Charleston Municipal Court Administrator.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that participants in the Charleston Homeless Court shall be qualified for participation by criteria set forth by the City of Charleston Prosecutor's Office, in coordination and agreement with the City of Charleston Municipal Court Judges, the City of Charleston Municipal Court Administrator, the Public Defender for the City of Charleston, and the One80 Place Homeless Justice Project. The One80 Place Homeless Justice Project will be responsible for coordinating with the City of Charleston Prosecutor's Office, the City of Charleston Municipal Court Judges, the City of Charleston Municipal Court Administrator, the Public Defender for the City of Charleston, law enforcement agencies, and all other relevant homeless service and treatment providers to address proper rehabilitative treatment for substance abuse, physical problems, and mental health problems particular to homeless participants, among other treatment services available.
This Order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect unless rescinded or modified by future order of the Chief Justice.
s/Costa M. Pleicones
Costa M. Pleicones
Chief Justice of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
October 12, 2016