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South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
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RULE 7. GROUNDS FOR DISCIPLINE; SANCTIONS IMPOSED; DEFERRED DISCIPLINE AGREEMENT

(a) Grounds for Discipline.  It shall be a ground for discipline for a judge to:

(1) violate or attempt to violate the Code of Judicial Conduct or the Rules of Professional Conduct or any other applicable ethics codes;

(2) willfully violate a valid order of the Supreme Court, Commission or panels of the Commission in a proceeding under these rules, willfully fail to appear personally as directed, willfully fail to comply with a subpoena issued under these rules, or knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand from a disciplinary authority to include a request for a response or appearance under Rule 19(b)(1), (c)(3) or (c)(4);

(3) be convicted of a crime of moral turpitude or a serious crime;

(4) persistently fail to perform judicial duties or persistently perform judicial duties in an incompetent or neglectful manner;

(5) be habitually intemperate;

(6) consistently fail to timely issue orders, decrees, opinions or otherwise perform official duties without just cause or excuse;

(7) willfully violate a valid court order issued by a court of this state or another jurisdiction;

(8) willfully fail to comply with the terms of a finally accepted deferred disciplinary agreement or any terms of a finally accepted agreement for discipline by consent;

(9) violate the Judge’s Oath of Office contained in Rule 502.1, SCACR.

(b) Sanctions. Misconduct shall be grounds for one or more of the following sanctions:

(1) removal from Office by the Supreme Court.  The removal shall operate as a permanent injunction prohibiting the judge from holding any judicial office within the unified judicial system in South Carolina.  On petition, the Supreme Court may dissolve this permanent injunction;

(2) suspension by the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court may also make a recommendation to the appropriate authority that the judge not be reappointed to the office at the end of the judge's term;

(3) public reprimand;

(4) admonition, provided that an admonition may be used in subsequent proceedings as evidence of prior misconduct solely upon the issue of sanction to be imposed;

(5) assessment of the costs of the proceeding, including the cost of hearings, investigations, service of process and court reporter services;

(6) limitations on the nature and extent of the judge's performance of judicial duties; or

(7) any other sanction or requirement as the Supreme Court may determine is appropriate.

Last amended by Order dated January 28, 2013.