South Carolina Supreme Court
ROSALYN W. FRIERSON
ROBERT L. MCCURDY
1220 SENATE STREET, SUITE 200
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA 29201
TELEPHONE: (803) 734-1800
FAX: (803) 734-0269
Magistrate and Municipal Judges
||Service of Arrest Warrants on SCDC Inmates
||June 1, 2015
You were recently provided notice of the issuance of Hall v. State, S. C. Sup. Ct. Order (filed January 28, 2015), in which the Supreme Court reaffirmed a previous memorandum issued by this office in 1986, and again in 2012, regarding service of outstanding arrest warrants on SCDC inmates through the SCDC Office of General Counsel. In response, this office has worked closely with the SCDC Office of General Counsel, SLED, summary court judges, and the Sheriff's Association to provide the following procedure to facilitate the timely service of outstanding warrants on SCDC inmates.
The process has been tested and is going statewide this month. Bond hearings will take place on Tuesday, June 16th and warrants must be at the SCDC Office of General Counsel by Tuesday, June 9th. There have been some slight changes to the process since we previously sent out the procedures. The updated procedures are below.
Please notify your local law enforcement officers of this procedure, as they are required to initiate this process. The Supreme Court recently dismissed an arrest warrant that a law enforcement agency did not serve on an inmate who was incarcerated at SCDC. In In re: Suber, the Court ordered that "Because the Police Department has failed to comply with that order and policy, we hereby direct that the arrest warrant for third degree burglary be dismissed." A copy of In re: Suber is attached.
Additionally, please provide law enforcement with a copy of the South Carolina Department of Corrections Bond Hearing Information Form, as well as the list of SCDC facilities and contact information. Those forms are attached. Lastly, please note that the attached list of SCDC facilities has been amended to reflect that MacDougall Correctional Institution is in Berkeley County, not Dorchester.
- Outstanding warrant shall be forwarded to the SCDC Office of General Counsel for service on the defendant/inmate at the SCDC institution of incarceration. If the warrant is issued from a County in which the institution is located, no countersignature is necessary, and warrant may be forwarded by the issuing county or municipal law enforcement agency (LEA) directly to SCDC Office of General Counsel. When forwarding the warrant, the issuing LEA shall notate that no countersignature is necessary, since the warrant was issued in the county of service.
- If the warrant is issued from a county or municipality other than where the institution is located, the issuing LEA shall forward the warrant(s) for countersignature to the chief magistrate of the County in which the institution is located.
- When forwarding warrant directly to SCDC Office of General Counsel, or to chief magistrate for countersignature, LEA must include statutorily required information for a judge's consideration at a bond hearing, as provided in §§22-5-510 and 17-15-30. The documents must be scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or faxed to (803) 896-1766, attention: Warrants. NCIC reports must be sent through encrypted email or fax. For cautionary purposes, US mail or commercial delivery services shall not be used in this process.
- Transmission must also include a cover letter which includes the inmates SCDC number, an LEA contact person's name, and clearly state who and where the documentation should be returned when service and the bond hearing is completed (the issuing court).
- Issuing LEA is required to notify the victim of the service of the warrant, the date and location of the bond hearing, and the right to be present at the hearing. LEA must provide victim with SCDC Bond Hearing Information Form, which outlines rules regarding SCDC institutions, including entry procedures. Victim may choose to provide LEA with a written victim impact statement or may participate at the hearing via speakerphone, in lieu of actual appearance at the SCDC institution.
- Upon receipt of the information and countersignature of warrant, the countersigning chief magistrate will forward the warrant and other bond information (including verification of victim notification) to SCDC Office of General Counsel for service. The documents must be scanned and emailed to email@example.com, or faxed to (803) 896-1766, attention: Warrants. Again, the NCIC report must be sent through encrypted email or fax. For cautionary purposes, US mail or commercial delivery services shall not be used in this process.
- Bond hearings will be held the third Tuesday of every month. Warrants must be submitted to the SCDC Office of General Counsel by the second Tuesday of the month. The chief magistrate (or designee) of the county in which the institution is located shall go to the SCDC institution and conduct the bond hearing. The magistrate is allowed to bring an audio recording device into the SCDC facility. In counties that house multiple SCDC institutions, all inmates that are scheduled to have bond set will be transported to one SCDC institution in the county (Richland – Broad River and Camille Graham, and Spartanburg – Perry).
- The defendant will be served the warrant at the bond hearing. During the pilot testing of these procedures, the magistrate brought the original countersigned warrants to SCDC for service. This worked well and is encouraged. In order to be booked, SLED requires the defendant be fingerprinted for every charge. A manual fingerprint card meets SLED's requirements, and a SCDC correctional officer at each institution will be trained by SLED to fingerprint the defendants.
- Bonding magistrates will manually complete the paperwork for these bond hearings and later enter the information into CMS. SCDC will provide a room with an outlet and an Ethernet cord if the magistrate wishes to bring a laptop and a printer. The magistrate will then return the paperwork to the issuing court. The magistrate will also notify the issuing LEA of service of the warrant and send them the fingerprint card(s). Upon receipt, the served warrant (if a copy) should be attached and maintained with the original warrant.
Should you have questions, please contact this office. To view Hall v. State, please click on the link below. http://www.sccourts.org/courtOrders/displayOrder.cfm?orderNo=2015-01-28-01