Current Status Bill Number:
4827Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 19960327Primary Sponsor: KennedyAll Sponsors: Kennedy, Knotts and HerdklotzDrafted Document Number: dka\3632cm.96Residing Body: HouseCurrent Committee: Judiciary Committee 25 HJSubject: Grievance Commission Panels
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ House 19960327 Introduced, read first time, 25 HJ referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 23-6-145 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE CREATION OF GRIEVANCE COMMISSION PANELS TO INVESTIGATE AND HEAR COMPLAINTS AGAINST LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, TO DETERMINE THE NECESSARY ACTION TO BE TAKEN AGAINST A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN PROCEEDINGS ARE CONFIDENTIAL AND CIVIL PENALTIES FOR A BREACH OF THE CONFIDENTIALITY PROVISION, AND TO PROVIDE A PROCESS TO APPEAL A DECISION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 23-6-145. (A) There is hereby created a Grievance Commission Panel in each congressional district to investigate and hear complaints against law enforcement officers serving in the district from police departments, law enforcement agencies, and citizens.
(B) Each panel must be appointed by the legislative delegation from each congressional district and consists of:
(1) an employee of a municipal police department;
(2) an employee of a sheriff's department;
(3) an employee of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Department;
(4) an employee of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Association;
(5) an employee of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety;
(6) an employee of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Training Academy;
(7) an employee of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division;
(8) a private citizen who is a member of a racial minority group; and
(9) two persons who are neither current or former employees of a law enforcement agency.
The panel's chairman must be selected by the legislative delegation.
(C) The panels shall employ necessary personnel to implement the requirements of this section.
(D) Panel members shall hold office for a four-year term, except to achieve staggered terms, the initial appointment must be:
(1) the employee of a municipal police department shall serve four years;
(2) the employee of a sheriff's department shall serve two years;
(3) the employee of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Department shall serve three years;
(4) the employee of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Association shall serve one year;
(5) the employee of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety shall serve two years;
(6) the employee of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Training Academy shall serve one year;
(7) the employee of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division shall serve two years;
(8) the private citizen from a racial minority group shall serve four years; and
(9) the two persons who are neither current or former employees of a law enforcement agency shall serve two years and four years respectively.
(E) A panel member shall not serve more than two terms consecutively.
(F) Each panel member shall receive an allowance at the regular per diem rate established by the General Assembly for state boards.
(G) Vacancies must be filled by selection of a successor in the same manner required for the selection of his predecessor in office. A panel member selected to fill a vacancy shall hold office for the unexpired term of his predecessor.
(H) A quorum for the transaction of business by a panel is six members.
(I) A signed complaint must be filed with a panel and served upon the respondent. A complaint must be entitled: `Before the Grievance Commission Panel against _______'. A complaint must be in a form similar to a complaint filed in a civil action in the circuit court.
(J) A panel, within ten days after receiving a signed complaint, not obviously unfounded or frivolous, alleging facts indicating a law enforcement officer is guilty of misconduct, shall notify the officer's law enforcement department that a complaint has been filed.
(K) Within twenty days after service of the complaint, the respondent may file with the panel an answer, which must be verified by him. The answer must be in a form similar to an answer in a civil action in the circuit court.
(L) After the complaint has been served upon the respondent, if the panel finds that the complaint is meritorious, the panel shall set the matter to be heard. The chairman of the panel shall set the time of the hearing and shall notify the respondent and the panel at least twenty days before the hearing date.
(M) At the time and place set for hearing, the panel shall proceed with a hearing which generally shall conform to the rules of procedures and evidence governing the trial of civil actions in circuit courts, whether or not the respondent has filed an answer or appears at the hearing. The complainant or his counsel shall present the evidence in support of the allegations contained in the complaint. A respondent is entitled to be represented by counsel.
(N) The failure of the respondent to answer or to appear at the hearing, standing along, must not be taken as conclusive evidence of the truth of the facts alleged to constitute ground for a panel's action. The failure of the respondent to answer or to testify in his own behalf may be considered as an evidentiary fact, unless it appears that this failure was due to circumstances unrelated to the facts at issue at the hearing.
(O) The proceedings at the hearing must be reported by a voice recorder or by a stenographer designated by the panel.
(P) The chairman shall rule on all interlocutory and procedural matters, and the ruling must be taken or concurred to by the other panel members unless one or more calls for a vote, whereby these rulings must be made by a majority vote of the panel.
(Q) Before the issuance of an order by the panel directing the decertification, reinstatement of certification, reprimand or any disciplinary act, no member of a panel or its staff, witnesses, or any other person shall disclose the existence or contents of the proceeding nor any testimony taken or papers filed with a panel.
A panel shall impose a civil fine of not less than five thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars upon a person who violates a provision of this subsection.
(R) If a panel upon:
(1) a finding of misconduct based upon the record concludes that a law enforcement officer is unable or unfit to conduct the duties of the position which he holds, it shall issue an order of suspension and decertification of the officer;
(2) a finding of misconduct based upon the record concludes that the misconduct does not warrant suspension and decertification, the panel may issue an order of discipline; or
(3) finding that the complaint is not meritorious, the panel may dismiss a complaint.
(S) A petition for rehearing or reconsideration must be filed by a party within thirty days after the issuance of an order pursuant to subsection (R).
(T) A party may request review of a final order issued pursuant to subsection (R) within thirty days of its issuance from an administrative law judge."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.