Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Jean Toal urges sentencing reform and urges higher pay for judges

According to The State, Chief Justice Toal made the following remarks on sentencing and judicial pay:

"Sentencing is a national scandal," Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal said during a luncheon meeting at the S.C. Bar’s annual convention. "We simply cannot afford in South Carolina to continue to do what we are doing with the huge burden of prison population, both at the state level and the county level."

. . .

Toal said judicial pay has been a "difficult problem" in the U.S. and "especially" in South Carolina but explained that it should be examined along with the two other branches of government. She said she has assembled a group of business leaders who will "move this issue forward" with private funding.

S.C. trial judges are the most overworked in the nation, Toal said, noting that on average, there are more than 4,000 filings annually per judge, compared to a national average of about 1,700 filings per judge. No additional circuit or family court judges have been added in the state in nearly a decade, she said.

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