On Thursday, August 22, 2013, South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal made her annual presentation to the 2013 Judicial Conference. In her presentation, the Chief Justice announced, “The [Supreme] Court is examining a system for differentiated case management which will set all cases on tracks or scheduling orders.” According to the PowerPoint presentation, at slide number 15:
For cases less than 545 days old [or eighteen months], Judges, Solicitors, and defense attorneys in counties which have in place a differentiated case management order tailored to that county will collaborate to set deadlines to process cases from bond hearings, the scheduling of first appearances, and the scheduling of pleas and trials.
Cases over 545 days old [or eighteen months] will be exclusively managed by the Chief Judge for Administrative Purposes and will be either set for trial or dismissed.
This new system might be part of the Supreme Court’s implementation of State v. Langford, the landmark case the ended solicitor docket control. The PowerPoint presentation, however, offers very few details about the system the Court is examining. So far, the Langford implementation precess has been conducted in secrete and reportedly with input from only current and former elected solicitors. Hopefully, the Court will share more details of the proposed system and seek public comment.
Click these links to read prior blog posts entitled SC Supreme Court Watch: More News Regarding the Implementation of State v. Langford, SC Supreme Court Watch: Implementation of State v. Langford and Constitutional Crisis: General Sessions Court Docket Management.
Disclosure: Charles Grose represented the South Carolina Public Defender Association asamicus curie in State v. Langford.
About SC Supreme Court Watch: SC Supreme Court Watch is a recurring series dedicated to identifying potentially significant criminal law issues pending before the Court and reporting administrative actions by the Court involving our state’s criminal justice system.