The Commission and the Office of Indigent Defense were established by Act 164 of 1993, effective July 1, 1993. The Office operates pursuant to §17-3-310, et seq. of the South Carolina Code of Laws, 1976, as amended. Effective July 1, 2005, the Office of Appellate Defense became a division within the agency.
The Commission on Indigent Defense, through the Office of Indigent Defense and its divisions, and in cooperation and consultation with other state agencies, professional associations and other groups interested in the administration of criminal justice and the improvement and expansion of defender services, establishes and monitors programs and services for the delivery of legal representation to indigent defendants charged with criminal offenses in the courts of the state. The agency also oversees the payment to court appointed attorneys for certain legal services performed on behalf of indigent clients in the Family Courts of the state.
The Division of Appellate Defense within the agency handles appeals on behalf of indigent clients and consists of a staff of eight attorneys.
The Office of Indigent Defense establishes criteria to be used in the determination of indigency and qualifications for services for indigent legal representation, establishes guidelines for court appointed attorneys in representing indigent clients, and administers appropriate distribution of funding for indigent defense. Additionally, the office establishes and supervises training programs for public defenders and staff across the State, and oversees the implementation of a central reporting system for the accurate compilation of statistical data in the delivery of indigent defense services.
The Commission on Indigent Defense is comprised of thirteen (13) members, nine (9) of which are appointed by the Governor; one (1) from each of the four Judicial Regions and five (5) representatives from the S.C. Bar; two (2) retired judges, including a retired circuit judge and either a retired family court judge or a retired appellate judge, appointed by the Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court; and a representative of the House Judiciary Committee and a representative of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appointed by their respective Committee Chairman. The Chairman of the Commission on Indigent Defense is elected by the Commission from its membership for a 2-year term.
The SC Commission on Indigent Defense is responsible for ensuring that all individuals participating in the delivery of indigent defense services in South Carolina provide the highest quality of representation to our clientele.
The SCCID has the primary responsibility to set and enforce standards, to ensure that the standards are uniform across the state, and to maintain accountability of those persons entrusted with the life and liberty of poor persons charged with crimes.