South Carolina Court Administration
South Carolina Supreme Court
ROSALYN W. FRIERSON
1015 SUMTER STREET, SUITE 200
|TO:||Magistrates and Municipal Judges
Robert L. McCurdy, Assistant Director
Summary Court Pretrial Detainees
November 1, 2010
I have attached an Order of the Chef Justice dated October 28, 2010, requiring that when a defendant charged with a summary level offense(s) is unable to make bond and is detained pretrial for the maximum amount of time the defendant would have received if convicted for the offense(s), the on-call bonding magistrate or municipal court judge shall immediately convert the defendant’s surety bond to a personal recognizance (PR) bond and discharge the defendant. The Order clarifies that “good time,” or time off for good behavior, as provided in S.C. Code Ann. §24-13-210, does not apply to pretrial detention and those days should not be deducted from the maximum exposure time when determining a defendant’s release. Finally, the Order reminds all summary court judges that S.C. Code Ann. §17-15-10 requires a defendant be released on a PR bond without surety unless the court determines that such a release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required, or unreasonably endanger the community. When implementing procedure to comply with this Order in your jurisdiction, please also consider the following matters;
- The Chief Magistrate or Chief Municipal Judge should coordinate with detention facility management to ensure that the court is notified in a timely manner of a defendant who is reaching or has reached the maximum time exposure for the pending charge(s).
- Notwithstanding previous direction from this Office, the on-call bonding judge shall convert a qualifying defendant’s cash/surety bond to a PR bond regardless of whether another judge set the bond.
- When converting a cash/surety to a PR bond, document on the original Bond Form II that the bond requirement is void pursuant to this Order and maintain a copy in the case file. Bond Form I should be issued indicating a PR bond in the same amount as the original cash/surety bond.
- For those courts that are on the Chief Justice’s Statewide Case Management System or those courts that are on similar systems, you will need to go into the program and indicate the bond change on that particular defendant.
- Upon discharge, ensure that defendant is given the appropriate trial date, time, and location. Any victim involved should be notified of the defendant’s release and of the trial information.
- The Chief Magistrate or Chief Municipal Judge should be notified of all defendants released pursuant to this Order. Further, the Chief Magistrate or Chief Municipal Judge should be notified of any non-compliance with the provisions of this Order by court personnel or detention facility personnel.
Should you have questions concerning this matter, please do not hesitate to contact this Office.
Cc: The South Carolina Jailers Association
Circuit Court Judges
The Supreme Court of South Carolina
RE: Summary Court Pretrial Detainees
I FIND THAT direction is needed in cases where a defendant is incarcerated on a summary level offense(s), is unable to make bond, and is detained pretrial for the maximum amount of time that the defendant would be subject to if convicted for the offense(s).
Therefore, pursuant to Article V, Section 4, S.C. Constitution,
IT IS ORDERED that when a defendant charged with a summary level offense(s) is unable to make bond and is detained pretrial for the maximum amount of time the defendant would receive if convicted for the offense(s), the on-call bonding magistrate or municipal court judge shall immediately convert the defendant’s surety bond to a personal recognizance bond and discharge the defendant. Nothing herein affects the defendant’s right to contest the charge against him, including trial by jury. When determining the maximum amount of time a defendant would receive if convicted of a summary level offense(s) for purposes of this Order, time off for good behavior, as provided in S.C. Code Ann. §24-13-210, shall not be considered so as to reduce the maximum amount of time.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the chief magistrate in each county and the chief municipal court judge of each municipality shall coordinate with their detention facility employees so as to ensure that the court is notified of all defendants who are nearing or who have reached the maximum amount of time to which they are subject if convicted on a summary level offense(s).
I take this opportunity to remind all summary court judges that when setting bond on a person charged with a noncapital offense triable in magistrate, municipal, or circuit court, S.C. Code Ann. §17-15-10 requires that the defendant be released pending trial on his own recognizance without surety in an amount specified by the court, unless the court determines in its discretion that such a release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required, or unreasonable danger to the community will result. If a summary court judge determines that a personal recognizance bond is not appropriate and requires a surety bond, the judge shall indicate in the designated section of Bond Form II the determinative factors in that decision.
The provisions of this Order are effective immediately and shall remain in effect unless amended or revoked by further Order of the Chief Justice.
|s/Jean Hoefer Toal
The Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal
October 28, 2010