The Supreme Court of South Carolina
Re: Rule 403 Trial Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Appellate Case No. 2020-000447
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the South Carolina Judicial Branch to alter our courts' normal operating procedures, including continuing many jury trials and limiting attendance at in-person hearings and trials to attorneys, parties, and other necessary persons. Although necessary, these limitations have nevertheless resulted in hardships for attorneys and bar applicants seeking to satisfy the trial experience requirements of Rule 403 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR).
Based on these hardships, the Court finds it appropriate to allow an attorney or bar applicant to satisfy the requirements of Rule 403(b)(1) (civil or criminal jury trial) and Rule 403(b)(4) (day-in-court proceedings) by viewing recorded jury trial and day in court proceedings that are approved by the Supreme Court and broadcast online via Cisco WebEx. Completion and verification are subject to the following conditions.
Only attorneys admitted under Rule 402, SCACR, or persons who have filed an application for admission under Rule 402 will be granted access to recorded proceedings. An attorney or applicant must view the entire video, and attendance, log-in information, and attention tracking will be provided to the Office of Bar Admissions. An attorney or applicant who completes a Rule 403 observation under this order shall indicate on the judge's signature line of the Rule 403 Certificate that the observation was completed "Via Cisco Webex."
Further details related to broadcast time, access, and other pertinent information is available at https://barapplication.sccourts.org/trialExperiences.cfm.
s/Donald W. Beatty C.J.
s/John W. Kittredge J.
s/Kaye G. Hearn J.
s/John Cannon Few J.
s/George C. James, Jr. J.
Columbia, South Carolina
October 14, 2020
Rule 403 Videos
1. During the COVID-19 emergency, the Judicial Branch will broadcast recorded videos of jury trial and day in court proceedings that may be viewed to satisfy the trial experience requirements of Rule 403 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR). Specifically, these recorded videos may be used to satisfy the requirements of Rule 403(b)(1) and (b)(4), and will be broadcast utilizing Cisco Webex Events.1
2. Only an attorney admitted under Rule 402, SCACR, or a person who has filed an application for admission under Rule 402 may access the Cisco Webex Event broadcasts. An attorney may obtain information on how to access a broadcast by logging into the attorney's account in the Attorney Information System (AIS) at https://ais.sccourts.org/AIS. A bar applicant may obtain information on how to access a broadcast by logging into the applicant's online account with the Office of Bar Admissions at https://barapplication.sccourts.org.
3. Information on AIS and the Bar Admissions site will include a broadcast schedule. Basic information about the proceedings will also be provided, including the amount of time of each video and the number and duration of any breaks. In the case of a jury trial, the criminal charge(s) or civil cause(s) of action will be provided. A lawyer or applicant should join the WebEx Event broadcast at least ten minutes prior to the scheduled start time.
4. The attorney or applicant must view and listen to the entire video to receive credit. The Office of Bar Admissions will be provided with attendance records and attention tracking data from each WebEx Event broadcast. Therefore, an attorney or applicant should not minimize the screen or open and utilize other applications during the broadcast. An attorney or applicant who loses connection must rejoin as soon as possible.
5. Jury trial broadcasts will be broken into morning and afternoon sessions, with periodic breaks. In the case of a jury trial broadcast, an attorney or applicant may complete the morning session on one day and the afternoon session on a subsequent day, provided that information is included in the Rule 403 Certificate so that attendance may be verified.
6. An attorney or applicant who completes a Rule 403 observation utilizing these videos shall indicate on the judge's signature line of the Rule 403 Certificate that the observation was completed "Via Cisco Webex."