South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal says that the state's trial courts are the nation’s most overburdened, reports The State In Columbia. Toal said South Carolina has the lowest number of judges per 100,000 people and the highest number of filings per trial judge of any state. General sessions courts, where more serious criminal cases are heard, have not hit her department's 180-day benchmark of moving cases in some time. “This backlog is frightening,” she said, noting those courts tend to concentrate on violent crimes. To ease backlogs, Toal has asked legisaltors for three more circuit and three more family court judges.
Toal said the state's solicitors recognize they have a serious problem in managing their criminal dockets. She said that while she is not opposed to solicitors having control of scheduling most trials – which no other state allows – she will “continue to insist and require that all criminal dockets be managed in a businesslike way” using computer software approved by her department. “The days of managing by roll call and on the back of an envelope have got to go the way of the buggy whip,” she said.