What is the City of Spartanburg Homeless Court?
The City of Spartanburg Homeless Court is a voluntary program created to help individuals who are either currently homeless or homeless at the time they were charged with a criminal offense that falls within the criteria for Homeless Court participation. The purpose of the Homeless Court is to encourage participants to receive and complete treatment and rehabilitation programs in exchange for the dismissal of the fines associated with a criminal offense and, in some cases, the dismissal of an offense.
How was the City of Spartanburg’s Homeless Court created?
The Homeless Court was created on September 19, 2019 by Order of the Supreme Court of South Carolina, as an alternative court for South Carolina residents. The Order grants the City of Spartanburg Municipal Court with the authority to preside over cases for eligible Homeless Court participants.
What charges are considered?
- The Solicitor’s Office will consider any offense that occurs in the City of Spartanburg that carries a penalty of no more than 30 days.
- Offenses that are not eligible for consideration include: Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV) and Driving Under the Influence.
- The Solicitor’s Office will consider bench warrants resulting from any offense that occurs in the City of Spartanburg that carries a penalty of no more than 30 days.
- Bench warrants that are not eligible for consideration include: Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV), Assault and Battery 3rd Degree, and Driving Under the Influence.
- A Homeless Court participant must be homeless, formerly homeless or facing homelessness as a result of the pending or past charges or bench warrants.
- Any eligible participant must be able to prove to the Solicitor’s Office that they are receiving treatment or have received treatment and are transitioning out of a homeless lifestyle.
- The Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office has the sole discretion to admit or deny participation in Homeless Court. No individual will be allowed to participate in Homeless Court without the authorization and consent of the Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office. The Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office has the sole authority to refuse any Defendant’s participation in Homeless Court.
How does Homeless Court work?
The Homeless Court is a formal proceeding with a judge, solicitor, an attorney for the Homeless Court participant, bailiff, treatment providers, and court administration. Although the proceeding is formal, Homeless Court is held outside of a traditional court room. Therefore, the program is brought to Homeless Court participants to help them resolve their matters quickly and in a setting that makes the participant feel comfortable.
Does a Homeless Court participant receive a lawyer?
Yes, provided that a homeless court applicant meets the criteria and is selected for participation, the applicant will be assigned an attorney to help manage the case pro bono.
What is the Process and Steps for Homeless Court?
Homeless Court applicant fills out an application
The application is sent to the Solicitor’s Office and the Public Defender for review and consideration.
After an application is approved, the applicant is assigned a pro bono attorney and is introduced during Homeless Court. The applicant will begin working with a service provider to develop a “plan” that addresses the applicant’s barriers in order to transition out of homelessness.
Upon completion of the Plan, the applicant will return to Homeless Court with his/her attorney and explain his/her progress with overcoming barriers.
Upon the Judge’s discretion, the applicant’s charge(s) will be dismissed or reduced.
Who are some of the qualifying treatment providers currently involved in the City of Spartanburg Homeless Court?
- South Carolina Legal Services
- Miracle Hill
- Forrester Center for Behavioral Health
- Spartanburg Interfaith Hospitality Network
- Alston Wilkes Society
- Access Health
- United Way
- Department of Mental Health
- Upstate Workforce Investment Board
- Urban League
Where is Homeless Court held?
The City of Spartanburg Homeless Court is held at the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen located at 136 S. Forest Street Spartanburg, South Carolina 29306.
How do I obtain an application for the Homeless Court?
The best way to obtain an application and learn more about Homeless Court is to contact a local service provider. In addition, you may contact the Spartanburg Municipal Court at (864)596-2038 for more information about the City of Spartanburg Homeless Court.