South Carolina has sixteen Circuit Courts, one for each judicial district. Forty-nine judges serve the Circuit Courts. These courts are the highest trial courts in the state and have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters. The Circuit Courts are split into two divisions. The civil division is called the Court of Common Pleas, and the criminal division is called the Court of General Sessions.
Circuit Courts also have limited appellate jurisdiction over appeals from the Municipal Courts, Magistrate Courts, and Probate Courts.
The forty-nine judges are rotated among the sixteen judicial districts. They are assigned directly by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. They are elected into office by the General Assembly, and they serve six-year terms. There is at least one judge per circuit.
The South Carolina Judicial Branch website has all the judges listed on their website in three ways. First, they list them alphabetically. Then they list them by circuits with a search form at the top to locate a specific one by their term; then they list them as a roster. Each listing includes the judge’s name, office address, phone number, fax, email address, and their circuit number. On the roster listing, each of their names, links to a detailed biography page with a photo of the judge. They also include a map of each judicial district, so patrons will know which judges work in their area. Each county has one judge who keeps a home office in their county of residence.
The types of cases handled by Circuit Courts are tort cases, real property issues, civil lawsuits, civil appeals, exclusive felonies, misdemeanors, and criminal appeals. They also handle appeals from the “Administrative Law Judge Division over matters relating to state administrative and regulatory agencies.”