Court curtails solicitors’ powers

Currently, some criminal defendants in South Carolina wait two years or more before their case is called to trail, while others take less than half that time.

That could end soon in the wake of a S.C. Supreme Court ruling issued today.

The ruling, which stemmed from a 2008 robbery in Edgefield County, could have broad repercussions about how the state’s criminal court dockets work, said Beattie Butler, litigation director for the S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense.

“You could have somebody who sits in jail two to three years and they (prosecutors) will say, ‘We’re going to call this case that’s only nine months old today,’” Butler said. “Hopefully, the impact of this decision means that won’t happen anymore.”

The court found that the state law giving Circuit Solicitors the exclusive right to determine the order in which cases on the docket are called for trial is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers clause.

Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.

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