South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) filed an administrative appeal to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to request to remove civil contempt for nonpayment of child support from a client’s criminal history.
The basis for the appeal was that civil contempt is not a criminal offense (brought in family court and not general sessions; no right to jury rial; no right to appointed counsel), and that it doesn’t fit the statutory definition of items SLED is authorized to report, and that it is bad public policy to make it more difficult for obligors to find work by giving them a criminal record.
In considering SLED’s appeal, the executive director of SLED requested a formal opinion from the attorney general, who adopted SLED’s position.
The next step is to leverage this opinion to ensure that civil contempt for nonpayment is removed from all criminal records.
To read the attorney general’s opinion, click here: http://www.scag.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/keel-m-os-9487-10-8-12-NCIC-civil-contempt.pdf