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COMMITTEE AMENDMENT ADOPTED
April 17, 2007
Introduced by Senators Knotts, Elliott, Grooms, Drummond, Ford, Anderson, McGill and Mescher
S. Printed 4/17/07--S.
Read the first time February 1, 2007.
TO AMEND SECTION 17-5-50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO VACANCIES IN THE OFFICE OF CORONER, SO AS TO REVISE THE MANNER IN WHICH A VACANCY IS FILLED AND FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH THE DUTIES OF THE CORONER SHALL BE PERFORMED; TO AMEND SECTION 17-5-70, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTIES BY THE COUNTY CORONER, SO AS TO PERMIT THE COUNTY CORONER TO ALSO APPOINT INVESTIGATORS AS WELL AS DEPUTIES AND TO MAKE THESE APPOINTMENTS DISCRETIONARY RATHER THAN MANDATORY; TO AMEND SECTION 17-7-10, RELATING TO ORDERING OF AUTOPSIES, SO AS TO REQUIRE THE CORONER AND MEDICAL EXAMINER TO IMMEDIATELY REQUEST AN AUTOPSY IF A CHILD'S DEATH IS UNATTENDED; TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-5915, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE PURPOSES AND DUTIES OF THE STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION IN REGARD TO INVESTIGATING CHILD DEATHS, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH AND CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH AUTOPSIES ARE PERFORMED IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES; TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-5920, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE DUTIES OF THE STATE CHILD FATALITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMITTEE ALSO SHALL MEET WITH THE CORONER FROM THE COUNTY IN WHICH CHILD DEATHS OCCUR; AND TO REPEAL SECTION 17-5-80 RELATING TO A MAGISTRATE ACTING AS A CORONER IN CERTAIN CASES.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 17-5-50 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
In the event of a vacancy in the office of coroner, the Governor may fill the office by appointment, as provided in Section 4-11-20. (A) If a vacancy occurs in the office of coroner in any county of this State one year or less before the next general election for coroners, the Governor may appoint a suitable person who must be an elector of the county, and who, upon qualifying, is entitled to hold the office until his successor is elected and qualifies. The appointed coroner is subject to all the duties and liabilities incident to the office during the term of his service.
(B) If a vacancy occurs in the office of county coroner more than one year before the next general election for coroners, the Governor shall appoint a suitable person as provided in subsection (A) until a special election is held to elect a coroner to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(C) If a county coroner is suspended by the Governor upon the coroner's indictment or for other reasons, the chief magistrate of that county shall act as coroner until the suspended coroner is reinstated or until a coroner is elected and qualifies in the next general election for coroners, whichever occurs first.
(D) The chief deputy or second in command of the coroner's office shall act as coroner until the vacancy is filled, except when a suspension occurs in which case the provisions of subsection (C) apply. While acting as coroner, the chief deputy or second in command is subject to the duties and liabilities incident to the office of coroner and shall receive the same salary as the former coroner at the time of the vacancy or suspension."
SECTION 2. Section 17-5-70 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 73 of 2001, is further amended to read:
"Section 17-5-70. A county coroner
may shall appoint one or more deputies or investigators to be approved by the judge of the circuit or by any circuit judge presiding therein, who must take and subscribe the oath prescribed by the constitution prior to before entering upon the duties of appointment as a deputy coroner. The oath may be administered by any officer authorized to administer oaths in the county. The appointment must be evidenced by a certificate thereof, signed by the coroner, and continue at the coroner's pleasure. The coroner may take a bond and surety from his deputy as he considers necessary to secure the faithful discharge of the duties of the appointment, but the coroner must always be answerable for the neglect of duty or misconduct in office of his deputy coroner. When duly qualified, as herein required, the deputy coroner may do and perform any or all of the duties appertaining to the office of the coroner."
SECTION 3. Section 17-5-520 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 17-5-520. (A) In addition to the powers vested in other law enforcement officials to order an autopsy, the coroner or medical examiner is authorized to determine that an autopsy be made.
(B) The coroner or medical examiner shall immediately request an autopsy if a child's death occurs as defined in Section 17-5-540. The autopsy must be performed as soon as possible by a pathologist with forensic training."
SECTION 4. Section 20-7-5915(B)(1) and (3) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 73 of 2001, is further amended to read:
"(B) To achieve its purpose, the department shall:
(1) upon receipt of a report of a child death from the county coroner or medical examiner, as required by Section 17-5-540, investigate and gather all information on the child fatality. The coroner or medical examiner shall immediately
must request an autopsy if SLED determines that an autopsy is necessary. The autopsy must be performed by a pathologist with forensic training as soon as possible. The forensic pathologist must shall inform the department of the findings within forty-eight hours of completion of the autopsy. If the autopsy reveals the cause of death to be pathological or an unavoidable accident, the case must be closed by the department. If the autopsy reveals physical or sexual trauma, suspicious markings, or other findings that are questionable or yields no conclusion to the cause of death, the department immediately must begin an investigation;
(3) upon receipt of additional investigative information, reopen a SLED case, and request in writing as soon as possible for the coroner to reopen a case for another coroner's inquest;"
SECTION 5. Section 20-7-5920(B)(1) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 73 of 2001, is further amended to read:
"(B) To achieve its purpose, the committee shall:
(1) meet with the department no later than one month after the department receives notification by the county coroner or medical examiner pursuant to Section 17-5-540 to review the investigation of the death
;. The Child Fatality Advisory Committee shall notify the county coroner or medical examiner about the review meeting and request that the county coroner or medical examiner attend the review meeting;"
SECTION 6. Section 17-5-80 of the 1976 Code is repealed.
SECTION 7. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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