In South Carolina, the position of “Circuit Solicitor” is comparable to that of State’s Attorney or District Attorney in other jurisdictions. The position of Solicitor was originally created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1791; subsequently, there was a reorganization of the circuit courts and districts with the adoption of the South Carolina Constitution of 1868. The Constitution established one Solicitor (popularly elected for a four year term) for each circuit (Article IV, Section 29, 1868 Constitution).
Currently, there are sixteen (16) elected Circuit Solicitors in South Carolina. The Solicitor is elected for a four-year term and has offices in each county. There are sixteen (16) judicial circuits each consisting of not less than two (2) nor more than five (5) counties. The Fifth Judicial Circuit serves Richland and Kershaw Counties.
In addition to the traditional methods of prosecution and punishment, the Solicitor’s Office also offers several diversion programs and community services. Diversion programs include: the Alcohol Education Program (AEP), Pre Trial Intervention (PTI), Juvenile Court Alternative Program (JCAP) in Richland County, Juvenile Pre Trial Intervention (JPTI) in Kershaw County, the Traffic Education Program (TEP), Adult and Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts, DUI Treatment Court and Veterans Treatment Court. Community Services include Victim/Witness Assistance, Expungement and the Worthless Check Program.
The Mission of the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office is to serve as ministers of justice in the fair and diligent prosecution of defendants charged with criminal offenses occurring in the Fifth Judicial Circuit, thereby preserving peace and dignity for all citizens of this Circuit.