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TO AMEND SECTION 17-3-50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO DETERMINATION OF FEES FOR APPOINTED COUNSEL AND PUBLIC DEFENDERS, SO AS TO INCREASE THE FEES TO FIFTY DOLLARS PER HOUR FOR ATTORNEYS WHO HAVE LESS THAN THREE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE PRACTICING LAW, SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS PER HOUR FOR ATTORNEYS WHO HAVE AT LEAST THREE YEARS BUT LESS THAN SIX YEARS OF EXPERIENCE PRACTICING LAW, EIGHTY DOLLARS PER HOUR FOR ATTORNEYS WHO HAVE AT LEAST SIX YEARS BUT LESS THAN TEN YEARS OF EXPERIENCE PRACTICING LAW, AND ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS PER HOUR FOR ATTORNEYS WHO HAVE TEN YEARS OR MORE OF EXPERIENCE PRACTICING LAW, AND TO INCREASE THE MAXIMUM COMPENSATION PERMITTED FOR EACH CASE TO SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR CASES WHERE FELONIES ARE CHARGED, AND TO TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR CASES WHERE ONLY MISDEMEANORS ARE CHARGED.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 17-3-50 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 17-3-50. (A) When private counsel is appointed pursuant to this chapter and in accordance with a plan of appointment promulgated by the bar of each county, he shall be paid a reasonable fee
to be determined on the basis of forty dollars an hour for time spent out of court and sixty dollars an hour for time spent in court based upon the years of experience of the appointed private counsel.
(1) For attorneys with less than three years of experience practicing law, the fee shall be fifty dollars per hour.
(2) For attorneys with at least three years but less than six years of experience practicing law, the fee shall be seventy-five dollars per hour.
(3) For attorneys with at least six years but less than ten years of experience practicing law, the fee shall be eighty dollars per hour.
(4) For attorneys with ten years or more of experience practicing law, the fee shall be one hundred dollars per hour.
The same hourly rates shall apply in post-conviction proceedings. Compensation shall not exceed
three thousand five hundred seven thousand dollars in a case in which one or more felonies is charged and one two thousand dollars in a case in which only misdemeanors are charged. Compensation shall be paid from funds available to the Office of Indigent Defense for the defense of indigents represented by court-appointed, private counsel. The same basis shall be employed to determine the value of services provided by the office of the public defender for purposes of Section 17-3-40 hereof.
(B) Upon a finding in ex parte proceedings that investigative, expert, or other services are reasonably necessary for the representation of the defendant, the court shall authorize the defendant's attorney to obtain such services on behalf of the defendant and shall order the payment, from funds available to the Office of Indigent Defense, of fees and expenses not to exceed five hundred dollars as the court considers appropriate.
(C) Payment in excess of the hourly rates and limits in subsection (A) or (B) is authorized only if the court certifies, in a written order with specific findings of fact, that payment in excess of the rates is necessary to provide compensation adequate to ensure effective assistance of counsel and payment in excess of the limit is appropriate because the services provided were reasonably and necessarily incurred.
(D)(C) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the provisions of Section 17-3-10 concerning those defendants who are entitled to legal representation."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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