MANDATORY SUMMARY COURT JUDGE MENTORING PROGRAM
(a) Mentoring Program. Following a successful summary court judge mentoring pilot program, this rule has been promulgated by the Supreme Court of South Carolina to establish the Mandatory Summary Court Judge Mentoring Program. The program shall be administered by South Carolina Court Administration.
(b) Completion Required. All persons who complete the Magistrate and Municipal Judge Orientation Program following the effective date of this Rule will be required to participate in and complete the Mandatory Summary Court Judge Mentoring Program.
(c) Assignment of Mentor. South Carolina Court Administration shall assign a mentor judge to all summary court judges who complete the Magistrate and Municipal Judge Orientation Program and notify the summary court judge of the assignment. The summary court judge shall schedule an Initial Meeting with the mentor judge within thirty days of receipt of the letter notifying the summary court judge of the assignment. The mentor and summary court judge must complete an Individualized Mentoring Plan and submit a copy to Court Administration for review within thirty days of the Initial Meeting.
(d) Purpose of Program. The goal of the program is to provide summary court judges with the tools that will enable them to continually improve and enhance their ability to perform their judicial functions with appropriate levels of professionalism, in an ethical and fair manner, maintaining the dignity and respect which should accompany the office they hold. The three elements for summary court judges participating in the program, and which must be included in all Individualized Mentoring Plans, are:
(1) Before the hearing: prepare yourself for your role in the judicial process.
(2) In the courtroom: conduct yourself at a high ethical standard.
(3) Engage in ongoing learning and development in the area of ethics and professionalism.
(e) Uniform Mentoring Plan; Forms. South Carolina Court Administration shall prepare a Uniform Mentoring Plan and other forms to be approved by the Supreme Court.
(f) Certification of Completion; Failure to Complete; Evaluation.
(1) The summary court judge shall complete the program within one year of submission of the Individualized Mentoring Plan. Upon completion, the summary court judge shall file a Certificate of Completion with South Carolina Court Administration.
(2) If the summary court judge has not completed all requirements of the mentoring program within the required time frame or is otherwise unable to obtain a certificate from the mentor judge, the summary court judge shall provide a detailed response to South Carolina Court Administration explaining the reasons, including hardship reasons, for noncompliance. South Carolina Court Administration, in its discretion, may grant such additional time as it deems appropriate to file a Certificate of Completion.
(3) A willful failure to complete the program in a timely manner shall be a ground for discipline under Rule 7 of the Rules for Judicial Disciplinary Enforcement contained in Rule 502, SCACR, and may subject the summary court judge to sanctions under that rule. If the summary court judge fails to complete the program, South Carolina Court Administration may refer the matter to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
(4) If requested by South Carolina Court Administration, the summary court judge and mentor shall complete an evaluation of the mentoring experience following the filing of a Certificate of Completion.
Adopted by Order dated February 21, 2018, effective March 1, 2018.