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Sponsors: Rep. Haskins
Document Path: l:\council\bills\ms\7338ahb05.doc
Introduced in the House on March 3, 2005
Currently residing in the House Committee on Judiciary
Summary: Criminal Domestic Violence Courts Act
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3/3/2005 House Introduced and read first time HJ-13 3/3/2005 House Referred to Committee on Judiciary HJ-13
View the latest legislative information at the LPITS web site
VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING ARTICLE 3 TO CHAPTER 25, TITLE 16 SO AS TO ENACT THE "CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS ACT", TO PROVIDE AUTHORITY FOR CIRCUIT SOLICITORS TO CREATE CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS IN THEIR CIRCUITS FOR PERSONS WHO COMMIT CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OFFENSES, TO PROVIDE PROCEDURES FOR ADMISSION INTO A CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT, AND TO CREATE A STATE CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT OFFICE TO COORDINATE THE OPERATION OF CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS.
SECTION 1. Chapter 25, Title 16 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 16-25-300. This article may be cited as the 'Criminal Domestic Violence Courts Act'.
Section 16-25-310. The South Carolina General Assembly finds:
(1) There is a specific need for specialized courts dedicated to responding to the epidemic of criminal domestic violence in this State.
(2) While violence against women is a problem nationwide, it is of particular concern in South Carolina as our State was recently ranked number one in the nation in the rate of women killed by men, and according to the State Law Enforcement Division, there are approximately thirty-five thousand domestic assaults statewide each year.
(3) There is a critical need for a coordinated judicial response to criminal domestic violence that promotes victim safety and offender accountability and criminal domestic violence courts are a promising mechanism for improving the judicial response to this crime among intimates.
(4) Criminal domestic violence courts are a viable alternative to the traditional court system to more adequately provide support services for victims and supervision and treatment for offenders that are appropriate for the degree and seriousness of the offense of criminal domestic violence.
(5) Criminal domestic violence courts allow circuit solicitors, within the exercise of their discretion, to permit consenting defendants to complete long-term, intensive treatment, closely monitored with judicial oversight.
Section 16-25-320. The purpose of this article is to set standards and procedures to facilitate the creation and continuation of criminal domestic violence courts in South Carolina, while leaving local jurisdictions the flexibility to tailor individual domestic violence courts to local needs.
Section 16-25-330. Each circuit solicitor has the discretion to establish and administer a criminal domestic violence court for persons charged with a criminal domestic violence offense as provided in Chapter 25, Title 16.
Section 16-25-340. In evaluating applications for admission to a criminal domestic violence court, the circuit solicitor may consider the following factors that may include, but are not limited to:
(1) the nature of the offense;
(2) prior criminal history;
(3) opinions of law enforcement officials and the victim;
(4) risk factors for community supervision;
(5) the availability of resources;
(6) benefits to the community, including cost savings and public service employment;
(7) whether the present offense and prior offenses appear to be part of a pattern of nonviolent criminal activity focused on supporting the addiction to or abuse of drugs;
(8) the ability to pay restitution to any victims;
(9) special characteristics of the accused, including family issues and community support;
(10) a comparison of the likelihood of outcomes in a domestic violence court setting as opposed to a traditional prosecution;
(11) the mental and physical health of the individual, including substance abuse history;
(12) the apparent motivation of the accused; and
(13) other circumstances of mitigation and aggravation that the solicitor considers appropriate.
Section 16-25-350. (A) The circuit solicitor in each judicial circuit, consistent with the requirements of this article, must establish the specific elements of the criminal domestic violence court in that circuit. It is solely within the discretion of each circuit solicitor whether a particular court is a post-conviction model, a diversion model, or a combination of both. However, all domestic violence courts must provide an element of intensive, long-term treatment including, but not limited to anger management counseling.
(B) The circuit solicitors are specifically endowed with and shall retain all discretionary powers under the common law.
Section 16-25-360. Offenders participating in criminal domestic violence courts shall contribute to the cost of the treatment received based on guidelines developed by the circuit solicitor.
Section 16-25-370. The State Criminal Domestic Violence Court Office is established within the South Carolina Prosecution Coordination Commission. The director of the office must be employed by the commission. Salaries, benefits, and routine office expenses associated with this office must be contained within the budget of the commission. The office is responsible for performing the following tasks:
(1) utilizing a statewide management information system to be used in each criminal domestic violence court;
(2) assuring that evaluation models are created and implemented throughout the State;
(3) accumulating and disseminating data and information related to criminal domestic violence courts;
(4) keeping abreast of funding sources for criminal domestic violence courts and notifying appropriate state and local officials of the availability of such funds;
(5) developing a training curriculum for judges and other criminal domestic violence court personnel;
( 6) arranging for training sessions and conferences to be held;
( 7) issuing reports on matters related to the office and the administration of criminal domestic violence courts;
( 8) developing budget requests;
( 9) making recommendations and suggestions for the improvement of services; and
(10) performing necessary tasks to ensure the proper development, implementation, continuation, and expansion of quality criminal domestic violence courts throughout the State.
Section 16-25-380. Nothing contained in this article confers a right or an expectation of a right to treatment for an offender within the criminal justice system. Nothing contained in this article may be construed as requiring a circuit solicitor to consider for admission every offender with a treatable condition or addiction, despite the fact that the controlling offense is eligible for consideration pursuant to the provisions of this article and despite the fact that others similarly situated are granted admission to the program."
SECTION 2. The repeal or amendment by this act of any law, whether temporary or permanent or civil or criminal, does not affect pending actions, rights, duties, or liabilities founded thereon, or alter, discharge, release or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability incurred under the repealed or amended law, unless the repealed or amended provision shall so expressly provide. After the effective date of this act, all laws repealed or amended by this act must be taken and treated as remaining in full force and effect for the purpose of sustaining any pending or vested right, civil action, special proceeding, criminal prosecution, or appeal existing as of the effective date of this act, and for the enforcement of rights, duties, penalties, forfeitures, and liabilities as they stood under the repealed or amended laws.
SECTION 3. If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act, the General Assembly hereby declaring that it would have passed this act, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.
SECTION 4. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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