The Supreme Court of South Carolina
RE: Resolution of Certain Summary Court Level Offenses During COVID-19 Outbreak
As the administrative head of the Unified Judicial System, I find that the public health emergency created by the COVID-19 requires changes to the normal functioning of the South Carolina Judicial System.
Therefore, in order to protect the health and safety of our State's citizens, and pursuant to Article V, Section 4 of the South Carolina Constitution,
IT IS ORDERED that those charged with criminal offenses, traffic violations, ordinance violations, and administrative violations within the jurisdiction of the summary courts may plead guilty by affidavit or certification. This procedure may only be utilized by persons represented by an attorney and desiring to plead guilty where the charge does not carry imprisonment as a possible punishment or where the prosecutor or prosecuting law enforcement officer and defense attorney have agreed that the recommended sentence will not result in jail time. If applicable, the prosecutor or prosecuting law enforcement officer must comply with the Victims' Bill of Rights under Article I, Section 24 of the South Carolina Constitution.
I find that the Affidavit/Certification of Guilty Plea (SCCA/656) bearing a creation date of 5/2020 is approved for use in the summary courts of South Carolina.
This Order is effective immediately and remains in effect until modified or rescinded by order of the Chief Justice.
s/Donald W. Beatty
Donald W. Beatty
Chief Justice of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
May 7, 2020