Supreme Court Seal
Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Branch

The Supreme Court of South Carolina


I find that clarification is required regarding the exercise of magistrate court's and municipal court's concurrent jurisdiction over state criminal offenses.

Therefore, pursuant to the provisions of Section 4, Article V, South Carolina Constitution,

IT IS ORDERED that all magistrates and municipal judges shall exercise their judicial duties as requested over all state criminal offenses within their jurisdiction regardless of the fact that the offense may have occurred within the municipality or the matter is presented by municipal law enforcement officers. Jurisdiction shall vest and be exercised when the matter is properly brought before the court, without regard to the law enforcement agency or geographic site of the offense. The court in which the action is initiated shall perform all necessary judicial functions regarding the case. Provided however, if a judicial officer of the court initiating the action is unavailable, nothing herein shall prohibit a judge of another court from setting bail.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all Chief Judges for Administrative Purposes of the Magistrate Courts shall provide for the distribution of cases arising in the municipalities to any or all magistrates in the county if such distribution is necessary to reduce the burden on the magistrate(s) located in the vicinity of the municipality(s). Nothing herein shall be construed as limiting the magistrates exercise of countywide jurisdiction nor the right of any agency or person to seek the judicial assistance of any magistrate in the county in which the offense occurred.

Failure to comply with this Order shall subject the party so failing to penalties as for contempt of court.

s/ J. Woodrow Lewis                             
J. Woodrow Lewis
Chief Justice

Columbia, South Carolina
October 31, 1979