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New Charleston County magistrate court opens

On Monday, Aug. 4, Charleston County’s Magistrates/Summary Courts held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the North Area 3 Magistrate Court at 6185 Rivers Avenue, Suite E, in North Charleston. Speakers at the event were North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie E. Pryor, Sr.

“We are grateful and are looking forward to moving into the new Rivers Avenue location,” said Judge JoAnna Summey-Fuller.  “This site is more convenient to the public due to the availability of the CARTA bus route.  Being able to serve the residents of Charleston County has always been a top priority.”

During the last calendar year, the North Area 3 Magistrate Court processed more than 12,000 cases and collected $673,639 worth of fines and fees. The new location on Rivers Avenue is more than 5,400 square-feet in size.

“Our citizens need to have easy access to all Charleston County services,” said Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor. “In addition to the location, the new North Area 3 Magistrate court is a larger facility and capable of handling a larger caseload.”

“For too long, the North Area 3 Magistrate Court was located out of the way, too far off of a bus line, and on a road without sidewalks,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. “The new court addresses every accessibility issue, making it more convenient for individuals to address their business with the court.  We thank Charleston County for investing in this new facility.”

Magistrate / Summary Court Background

  • In 1977, the Summary Courts Department was established to provide administrative support to magistrates in Charleston County. County Council approved a reorganization of the department in February 1981.
  • Magistrate Courts continued to grow through the years. In 1982, a Small Claims Court was established to improve the litigation of civil cases. A second Small Claims Court was added in 1992 in the North Area. Both Small Claims Courts have countywide jurisdiction and handle civil cases involving $7,500 or less.
  • Currently, the department’s director oversees 40 Summary Court clerks who perform judicial administrative functions for the 17 magistrates located throughout Charleston County, including Small Claims, Bond Hearing and Preliminary Hearing Courts.

Since 2000, Charleston County has constructed seven new Magistrate Courts as part of its Capital Improvements Plan:

  • 2000: Two in the main Public Services Building — Small Claims and North Area Magistrate
  • 2000: James Island Magistrate Court
  • 2004: McClellanville Magistrate Court
  • 2005: Johns Island Magistrate Court
  • 2007: Melbourne Magistrate Court
  • 2013: Centralized Preliminary Hearing & Bond Hearing Court
  • 2014: North Area 3 Magistrate Court