South Carolina’s top judge is telling full-time magistrates they must work 40-hour weeks or face discipline.
Chief Justice Don Beatty issued an order earlier this month saying it had been brought to his attention that some magistrates are working less than 40-hour weeks despite having a full-time job and the pay to go along with it.
The backlog of more than 270,000 pending cases in magistrates court statewide will be impossible to handle without the judges putting in their full time, Beatty wrote in his Nov. 8 order.
Deliberately working fewer hours than assigned breaks several rules for judges, and Beatty said he will seek disciplinary action against magistrates who continue to not work their assigned time.
Beatty did not single out any magistrates or say who made the complaints.
Magistrate courts are the lowest level of South Carolina’s court system, handling plenty of misdemeanor crimes and small civil maters.