Caseload heavy for Horry County prosecutors

Caseload heavy for Horry County prosecutors

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Solicitors across South Carolina are experiencing caseload overload, said Jimmy Richardson, solicitor for the Fifteenth Circuit.

"It really is a situation where we're doing an awful lot more with an awful lot less," Richardson said.

The South Carolina Commission on Prosecution Coordination is making a proposal to the state asking for more than $7 million to go toward evening out the caseload per attorney among counties.

A South Carolina prosecutor manages an average of 375 cases a year, compared to the national average of 94.

Each of Horry County's 15 prosecutors handles 560 cases a year.

"They're not sitting on their hands," Richardson said. "They're really barreling through this stuff at record speed."

While law enforcement has increased over the past decade, the office's budget has not changed, besides the addition of one violent crime prosecutor last year.

Meanwhile, case intake has increased from about 5,000 cases in 2000 to 8,000 cases now.

"More crime is being solved and all of that's got to go somewhere and all of that does end up in our office," he said.

If approved at the state level, the South Carolina Commission on Prosecution Coordination's proposal would add five more prosecutors for Horry County and two for Georgetown. Richardson said it would likely be spread out over a period of four years.

"We'll still be about half of what everybody else is, but I think we'll really be able to do a lot more," he said.

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