Senator Shane Massey is seeking persons who are interested in serving Edgefield County as a magistrate’s court judge. Magistrates in South Carolina are judges who deal with small claims civil cases, set bonds in criminal matters, and handle criminal cases in which the penalty typically is no more than 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
The opening is a full-time position, requiring some weekend and night work. The starting salary should be $42,406.20.
To be eligible to be appointed as a magistrate, applicants must:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 72
- Be a citizen and resident of Edgefield County and the United States
- Have been a resident of SC for at least 5 years
- Be registered to vote
- Have a 4-year baccalaureate degree
The Governor appoints all magistrates; however, those appointments are based on recommendations from the local Senator. To assist him in recommending the most qualified person, Senator Massey will use the application process outlined below.
To be considered for appointment as an Edgefield County magistrate:
- Complete the Magistrate Questionnaire.
- Send the completed Magistrate Questionnaire and a resume to Senator Massey at email@example.com or P.O. Box 551, Edgefield, SC 29824. The Magistrate Questionnaire and resume must be received by Friday, November 8, 2019.
A diverse, 5-person committee comprised of Edgefield County residents will review the applications and assist Senator Massey in selecting the most qualified person to serve Edgefield County. The review committee may conduct interviews and/or ask applicants to submit information in addition to the Magistrate Questionnaire and resume.
Following the review committee process, one or more applicants will be required to complete successfully a statewide eligibility examination. The examination is a computer-based test given at the Technical Colleges.
Prior to appointment, the Governor’s office will conduct criminal and financial credit history background checks on the nominee.
Senator Massey hopes to complete the review process and recommend a nominee to the Governor by early December 2019. The new magistrate will take office upon appointment and confirmation by the Senate, which should take place by the middle of January 2020. In order to maintain that deadline, the Magistrate Questionnaire and resume must be received by Friday, November 8, 2019.
If you have questions, please contact Senator Massey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 480-0419.
Information About Magistrate’s Courts
There are approximately 319 magistrates in South Carolina, each serving the county for which he or she is appointed.** They are appointed by the Governor upon the advice and consent of the Senate for four year terms and until their successors are appointed and qualified. (Art. V, § 26, S.C. Const., and S.C. Code Ann. § 22-1-10). Anyone seeking an initial appointment as magistrate must pass an eligibility examination before they can be recommended to the Governor by the senatorial delegation. S.C. Code Ann. § 22-2-5. Magistrates must also attend an orientation program, pass a certification examination within one year of their appointment, and attend a specified number of trials prior to conducting a trial.
Magistrates have criminal trial jurisdiction over all offenses which are subject to the penalty of a fine not exceeding $500.00 or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both. (S.C. Code Ann. § 22-3-550). In addition, S.C. Code Ann. § 22-3-545 provides that magistrates may hear cases transferred from general sessions, the penalty for which does not exceed one year imprisonment or a fine of $5,000, or both, upon petition by the solicitor and agreement by the defendant. Magistrates have civil jurisdiction when the amount in controversy does not exceed $7,500. (S.C. Code Ann. § 22-3-10). In addition, magistrates are responsible for setting bail, conducting preliminary hearings, and issuing arrest and search warrants. Unlike circuit courts and probate courts, magistrate courts are not courts of record. Proceedings in magistrate’s courts are summary. (S.C. Code Ann. § 22-3-730).***
Above information can be found in Summary Court Judges Bench Book: http://www.sccourts.org/summaryCourtBenchBook/HTML/GeneralA.htm#A2f
** Edgefield County has 2 magistrates with an office staff of 3-4 persons.
*** Both magistrates in Edgefield County are full-time employees. At least one magistrate must be on-call at night, on weekends, and on holidays for bond hearings, issuing arrest and search warrants, etc. The magistrates typically work out a schedule as to which magistrate will work specific weekends, nights, and holidays.
Magistrates are subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct and must abide by the Code’s rules at all times. A magistrate who violates a provision of the Code is subject to discipline – including the possibility of being removed from office – by the Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Above information can be found in Summary Court Judges Bench Book: http://www.sccourts.org/summaryCourtBenchBook/HTML/GeneralB.htm#B6
A magistrate must be a qualified elector in the county in which he is to serve, and not over the age of 72. (S.C. Const., Article XVII, Section 1). A magistrate must be a citizen of the United States, a state resident for at least five years, and at least 21 years old.** In addition, a newly appointed magistrate must have received a four-year baccalaureate degree. S.C. Code Ann. § 22-1-10(B) S.C. Code Ann. § 22-1-10 (C) requires that all newly appointed magistrates complete a training program and pass a certification examination within one year after taking office. A newly appointed magistrate who is not an attorney licensed in this State may not preside over a trial until a certificate is filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court stating that the magistrate has observed ten trials. While a newly appointed non-lawyer magistrate may not preside over a trial until the observation requirement has been completed, that magistrate may issue warrants and conduct bond hearings prior to completing the observation requirement. S.C. Code Ann. § 22-1-16 (B) provides “The required trial experiences must include the following:
- Four criminal cases in a magistrates court, two of which must be in a magistrates court where he will not preside;
- Four civil cases in a magistrates court, two of which must be in a magistrates court where he will not preside;
- One criminal jury trial in circuit court; and
- One civil jury trial in circuit court.”
All magistrates must pass a recertification examination within eight years after passing the initial examination, and at least once every eight years thereafter. Pursuant to Rule 509, SCACR, the Board of Magistrate and Municipal Judges Certification is empowered to make rules and regulations for conducting the required training program curriculum and examinations.
Above information can be found in Summary Court Judges Bench Book: http://www.sccourts.org/summaryCourtBenchBook/HTML/GeneralB.htm#B2
** In addition to the statutory requirements, Edgefield County magistrates must reside in Edgefield County.
The mandatory retirement date of a magistrate is the last day of the fiscal year in which he or she reaches seventy-two (72) years of age. (S.C. Code Ann. § 22-1-25). Should a magistrate fail to retire as required by S.C. Code Ann. § 22-1-25, the magistrate may be removed by order of the Supreme Court.
Above information can be found in Summary Court Judges Bench Book –http://www.sccourts.org/summaryCourtBenchBook/HTML/GeneralB.htm#B5
Magistrates are county employees. In Edgefield County, the starting salary for a newly appointed, full-time magistrate should be $42,406.20/year. Additionally, the salary should increase as provided in S.C. Code Ann. § 22-8-40(B).
(B) Each magistrate in this State must be paid as follows by the county which he serves:
(1) The following salary schedule shall be used to determine a magistrate’s annual compensation prior to the completion of his fourth year in office:
(a) upon being appointed a magistrate, a magistrate shall be paid seventy- five percent of the base salary for his county’s population category as provided in item (2);
(b) upon completing the requirements of Sections 22-1-10(C) and 22-1-16, a magistrate shall be paid eighty percent of the base salary for his county’s population category as provided in item (2);
(c) upon the magistrate’s completion of his second year in office, a magistrate shall be paid eighty-five percent of the lowest salary rate for his county’s population category as provided in item (2);
(d) upon the magistrate’s completion of his third year in office, a magistrate shall be paid ninety percent of the lowest salary rate for his county’s population category as provided in item (2);
(e) upon the magistrate’s completion of his fourth year in office, a magistrate shall be paid one hundred percent of the lowest salary rate for his county’s population category as provided in item (2).
(2) There is established a base salary for each population category as follows:
(a) for those counties with a population of one hundred fifty thousand and above, according to the latest official United States Decennial Census, the base salary is fifty-five percent of a circuit judge’s salary for the state’s previous fiscal year;
(b) for those counties with a population of at least fifty thousand but not more than one hundred forty-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine, according to the latest official United States Decennial Census, the base salary is forty-five percent of a circuit judge’s salary for the state’s previous fiscal year;
(c) for those counties with a population of less than fifty thousand, according to the latest official United States Decennial Census, the base salary is thirty-five percent of a circuit court judge’s salary for the state’s previous fiscal year.