AGO 96-147.

Case Date:August 22, 1996
Court:South Carolina
 
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South Carolina Attorney General Opinions 1996. AGO 96-147. 704August 22, 1996 OPINION NO. 96-147John R. SullivanChief Fairfax Police Department Post Office Drawer 810 Fairfax, South Carolina 29827 Re: Informal Opinion Dear Chief Sullivan: You state the following situations:
Allendale County has six or more municipalities and three law enforcement agencies. Fairfax Police Dept., Allendale Police Dept. and Allendale County Sheriffs Office. The Allendale Police Dept. also has to pay a prisoner fee when someone is arrested in [their] jurisdiction to the county. Other Municipalities such as Sycamore, Ulmer and Martin, have no police dept. and come under the Sheriffs Office. When the Sheriffs Office make arrest in those municipalities ... my question here, is it proper for the county to charge a jail fee, to the towns of Fairfax and Allendale just because of having a police department?
There are no written contracts between the County and Towns as to having to pay a jail fee. Everything was done by word of mouth [a] long time ago. But should you find it proper for the county to charge a jail fee, my next question would be, it is proper for the county to charge us a jail fee for the housing of prisoners with charges that have to be tried in General Sessions Court? As you know, any fines [etc.] go to the county and not back to the municipality.
Your questions are answered by previous opinions of this Office. I am enclosing copies of opinions issued January 9, 1992, March 6, 1990, July 22, 1986, March 21, 1983 and September 6, 1979. The January 9, 1992 opinion, quoting the March, 1990 opinion stated:
... a municipality is responsible for the care and maintenance of prisoners arrested and/or convicted of state or municipal violations within the jurisdiction of the municipal court if these prisoners are lodged in a county jail. However,... a county is responsible for the care and maintenance of prisoners charged with state law violations within the jurisdiction of the court of general sessions.
And in the March 6, 1990 opinion, we stated:
[a]nother opinion of this Office dated March 21, 1983 commented that generally a municipality is responsible for the care and maintenance of prisoners arrested and/or convicted of state or municipal violations within the jurisdiction of a municipal court if these prisoners are lodged in a county
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