Current Status Bill Number:
4472Ratification Number: 536Act Number: 455Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 19960118Primary Sponsor: KlauberAll Sponsors: Klauber, Hallman, Seithel, H. Brown, Sandifer, Cain, Kirsh, Richardson, R. Smith, Bailey, Fulmer, Wofford, Young-Brickell, Dantzler, Koon, Wilkins, J. Young, Cato, Limbaugh, Carnell, J. Harris, Wells, Allison, Spearman, Waldrop and PhillipsDrafted Document Number: GJK\22224SD.96Date Bill Passed both Bodies: 19960613Date of Last Amendment: 19960530Governor's Action: SDate of Governor's Action: 19960703Subject: Inmate Litigation
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ ------ 19960711 Act No. A455 ------ 19960703 Signed by Governor ------ 19960626 Ratified R536 House 19960613 Concurred in Senate amendment, enrolled for ratification Senate 19960613 Read third time, returned to House with amendment Senate 19960530 Amended, read second time, ordered to third reading with notice of general amendments Senate 19960530 Minority report withdrawn 11 SJ Senate 19960515 Committee report: majority 11 SJ favorable, with amendment, minority unfavorable Senate 19960227 Introduced, read first time, 11 SJ referred to Committee House 19960222 Read third time, sent to Senate House 19960221 Amended, read second time House 19960214 Committee report: Favorable with 25 HJ amendment House 19960118 Introduced, read first time, 25 HJ referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 24, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO CORRECTIONS AND PRISONERS, BY ADDING CHAPTER 27 SO AS TO REQUIRE SPECIFIED FILING FEES AND COURT COSTS RELATING TO INMATE LITIGATION, TO PROVIDE FOR THE LOSS OF EARNED RELEASE CREDITS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, TO PREVENT A PRISONER FROM BRINGING CERTAIN CIVIL ACTIONS OR APPEALS IF HE HAS BEEN FOUND ON THREE OR MORE OCCASIONS OF HAVING INSTITUTED FRIVOLOUS LITIGATION, TO PROVIDE THAT THIS CHAPTER IS NOT APPLICABLE TO CERTAIN CASES THAT REQUIRE AN INDIGENT PERSON BE ALLOWED ACCESS TO THE COURTS; AND TO PROVIDE A SEVERABILITY CLAUSE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Title 24 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 24-27-100. Unless another provision of law permits the filing of civil actions without the payment of filing fees by indigent persons, if a prisoner brings a civil action or proceeding, the court, upon the filing of the action, shall order the prisoner to pay as a partial payment of any filing fees required by law a first-time payment of twenty percent of the preceding six months' income from the prisoner's trust account administered by the Department of Corrections and thereafter monthly payments of ten percent of the preceding month's income for this account. The department shall withdraw the monies maintained in the prisoner's trust account for payment of filing fees and shall forward quarterly the monies collected to the appropriate court clerk or clerks until the filing fees are paid in full.
The prisoner must file a certified copy of his trust account with the court that reflects the prisoner's balance at the time the complaint is filed unless the prisoner does not have a trust account.
Section 24-27-110. Unless another provision of law permits the filing of civil actions without the payment of court costs by indigent persons, if a prisoner brings a civil action, the prisoner is responsible for the full payment of the court costs. For this purpose, the court shall order the prisoner to pay a partial first-time payment of twenty percent of the preceding six months' income from the prisoner's trust account administered by the Department of Corrections and thereafter monthly payments of ten percent of the preceding month's income of this account. The department shall withdraw the monies maintained in the prisoner's trust account for payment of court costs and shall forward quarterly the monies collected to the appropriate court clerk or clerks until the court costs are paid in full.
Section 24-27-120. Nothing in this chapter prevents a prisoner from authorizing payments beyond those required herein.
Section 24-27-130. The court may dismiss without prejudice any civil action pertaining to the prisoner's incarceration or apprehension brought by a prisoner who has previously failed to pay filing fees and court costs imposed under this chapter, except as otherwise provided in Section 24-27-150 or 24-27-400.
Section 24-27-140. For purposes of this chapter, a prisoner is defined as a person who has been convicted of a crime and is incarcerated for that crime or is being held in custody for trial or sentencing.
Section 24-27-150. If a prisoner does not have a trust account, or if the prisoner's trust account does not contain sufficient funds to make the first-time payments required by this chapter, the civil action may still be filed, but the prisoner shall remain responsible for the full payment of filing fees and court costs. Payments of ten percent of the preceding month's income of the prisoner's trust account, as set forth in this chapter, shall be made from the prisoner's trust account as soon as a trust account is created for the prisoner and funds are available in the account.
Section 24-27-200. A prisoner shall forfeit all or part of his earned work, education, or good conduct credits in an amount to be determined by the Department of Corrections upon recommendation of the court if the court finds that the prisoner has done any of the following in a case pertaining to his incarceration or apprehension filed by him in state or federal court or in an administrative proceeding while incarcerated:
(1) submitted a malicious or frivolous claim, or one that is intended solely to harass the party filed against;
(2) testified falsely or otherwise presented false evidence or information to the court;
(3) unreasonably expanded or delayed a proceeding; or
(4) abused the discovery process.
The court may make such findings on its own motion, on motion of counsel for the defendant, or on motion of the Attorney General, who is authorized to appear in the proceeding, if he elects, in order to move for the findings in a case in which the State or any public entity or official is a defendant.
Section 24-27-210. If the court does not make such findings in the original action brought by the prisoner, the Attorney General is authorized to initiate a separate proceeding in the court of common pleas for the court to recommend to the Department of Corrections the revocation of work, education, or good conduct credits as set forth in Section 24-27-200.
Section 24-27-220. Nothing in this chapter shall affect the discretion of the Director of the Department of Corrections in determining whether or not a prisoner's earned work, education, or good conduct credits shall be forfeited.
Section 24-27-300. The court may hold a prisoner in contempt of court if it finds that the prisoner has, on three or more prior occasions, while incarcerated, brought in a court of this State a civil action or appeal pertaining to his incarceration or apprehension that was dismissed prior to a hearing on the merits on the grounds that the action or appeal was frivolous, malicious, or meritless. However, if the court finds the prisoner was under imminent danger of great bodily injury, as defined by Section 56-5-2945, at the time of the filing of the present action or appeal, the prisoner shall not be held in contempt. The court may sentence the prisoner to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year for this contempt to be served consecutively to any terms of imprisonment previously imposed.
Section 24-27-400. This chapter is inapplicable to any case in which the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of South Carolina requires that an indigent person be allowed access to the courts."
SECTION 2. If any portion of this act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act. The General Assembly hereby declares that it would have passed this act, and each section thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections or portions thereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
In the Senate House June 26, 1996.
Robert L. Peeler,
President of the Senate
David H. Wilkins,
Speaker of the House of
Approved the 3rd day of July, 1996.
David M. Beasley,
Printer's Date -- July 9, 1996 -- S.