Supreme Court Seal
Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Branch

(a) Scheduling. Upon receipt of the respondent's answer or upon expiration of the time to answer, the chair of the hearing panel of the Commission shall schedule a public hearing and notify disciplinary counsel and respondent of the date, time, and place of the hearing.

(b) Hearing Panel. The hearing shall be conducted by three or more members of the hearing panel of the Commission. See Rule 4(g).

(c) Conduct of Hearing.

(1) All testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation.

(2) Disciplinary counsel shall present evidence on the formal charges.

(3) Disciplinary counsel may call the respondent as a witness.

(4) Both parties shall be permitted to present evidence and produce and cross-examine witnesses.

(5) The hearing shall be recorded verbatim and the official transcript shall be promptly prepared by the Commission court reporter and filed with the Commission. A copy of the transcript shall be made available to the respondent at respondent's expense.

(6) Disciplinary counsel and the respondent may submit proposed findings, conclusions, and recommendations for dismissal, letter of caution, sanction(s), or transfer to judicial incapacity inactive status to the members of the hearing panel who conducted the hearing.

(d) Submission of the Report. Within 60 days after the filing of the transcript, the hearing panel shall file with the Supreme Court the record of the proceeding and a report setting forth a written summary, proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, any minority opinions, and recommendations for dismissal, letter of caution, sanction(s), transfer to judicial incapacity inactive status, or removal or retirement based on incapacity. The hearing panel shall at the same time serve the report upon the respondent and disciplinary counsel.

(e) Combining Cases for Hearing. Upon motion of either party after 10 days notice to the opposing party, the chair of the hearing panel may combine for hearing two or more formal charges pending against a judge which have not been heard or may reconvene to hear additional formal charges against a judge filed prior to the hearing panel issuing a panel report concerning formal charges against the judge already heard by that panel.

(f) Recommending Closed, but not Dismissed. If the hearing panel finds that the matter should not be dismissed, but it is either impossible or impractical to proceed with the matter because it appears that the respondent is deceased, disappeared, incarcerated, physically or mentally incapacitated, or for other good cause, the panel may dispense with the hearing and recommend to the Supreme Court that the matter be closed, but not dismissed. If the respondent files a written objection with the Supreme Court and serves a copy of that objection on disciplinary counsel within 10 days of service of the recommendation that the matter be closed, but not dismissed, the matter shall be remanded to the Commission and the panel will proceed with the hearing. Any objection need not contain any grounds for objecting. If no objection is filed and properly served in accordance with this rule, the Supreme Court shall issue its order declaring the matter closed, but not dismissed, and granting the investigative panel of the Commission the authority to re-open the matter on motion of disciplinary counsel pursuant to the provisions of Rule 19(d)(4)(C).

Last amended by Order dated October 23, 2019.