SC legislators to debate who controls court docket

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A discussion over who should control South Carolina's court schedules is heading for the state Legislature.

Local prosecutors have long decided when to call cases to court. But South Carolina's Supreme Court ruled in November that state law giving local solicitors that power was unconstitutional.

In the meantime, state lawmakers this week are expected to debate legislation that would return control to prosecutors with certain protections.

South Carolina is the only state where prosecutorial control has been set in statute, but two other states also involve prosecutors in docket management.

The National Center for State Courts says district attorneys in North Carolina calendar criminal cases, but the court system has ultimate authority over trial calendars. Maryland prosecutors set trial dates, but a county's chief judge can make changes.