SD Supreme Court

Last June, a convicted felon who disagreed with his sentence and flipped off the judge ended up with more time in prison. Now the South Dakota Supreme Court will decide if that First Circuit judge could legally impose that longer incarceration. The resolution depends on whether the defendant was no longer under the court's rule. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, April 17. SDPB's Victoria Wicks explains.

Victoria Wicks file photo

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday, April 17, from opponents and proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In 2015, the Public Utilities Commission accepted TransCanada's certification that it can comply with the conditions of its 2010 permit.

Opponents appealed that certification to the Sixth Circuit Court last year, and now appeals the court's decision to the state's high court.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of Christopher Dean Kryger, who raped and strangled a Sioux Falls woman in her home in 2014.

Kryger appealed his conviction, saying the judge made errors at trial that prejudiced the jury against him, and that there wasn't enough evidence to support a guilty verdict.

At oral arguments last month, Assistant Attorney General Ann Meyers told Supreme Court justices that the jury had heard Kryger's objections to the evidence.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that Buffalo Chip City remains a city. The high court released its opinion on Thursday, Jan. 25.

Buffalo Chip is located a few miles outside of Sturgis. It incorporated as a city in the spring of 2015. The city of Sturgis tried to block the election but a circuit judge allowed it to proceed, and voters approved the incorporation.

The Supreme Court says because Buffalo Chip became a city, only the state or someone acting on its behalf can challenge the process.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of Russell Ray Bertram. The former Harrisburg Chief of Police killed his fiancee in October 2009. Earlier that year he took out $920,000 worth of insurance on her life. The state Supreme Court affirms the trial court's refusal to admit polygraph evidence. And justices support the lower court's decision to allow evidence of Bertram's sexual improprieties.

To read the opinion, click on this link:

The South Dakota Supreme Court is sending an insurance settlement back for trial. A Sioux Falls woman involved in a car collision says she agreed to a settlement without understanding what she was signing. When complications from an unknown injury later resulted in an additional $400,000 in medical bills, the insurance provider refused to pay. A lower court granted summary judgment to the insurance company. The high court disagrees with that decision.

Click on story below for coverage of oral arguments.

To read the entire opinion, click this link:

SD Department of Corrections

A prisoner serving life for murder is appealing his conviction, citing errors made at trial. Christopher Dean Kryger made his case in oral arguments before the South Dakota Supreme Court on Tuesday, Jan. 9. Kryger was convicted of raping and murdering a Sioux Falls woman in her home on March 14, 2014.

A former employee of an assisted living center in Lead won't get her day in court. Shirley Harvey sued Regional Health for slander and other grievances after she was fired for harsh treatment of a resident at Golden Ridge.

Harvey says fellow employees made false allegations against her to retaliate after she made negative reports about them.

She claims that Regional Health supervisors committed slander when they repeated these false allegations to others.

Andrew Bork, SDPB

An oversized house built in the historic McKennan Park district in Sioux Falls has to be modified or reconstructed. That's the decision issued by the South Dakota Supreme Court on Thursday, Jan. 4. The house is eight feet taller than allowed by city ordinance and did not follow the proposal home builders submitted to the city's historic board. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has overruled an earlier opinion concerning intentional infliction of emotional distress in divorce cases. In 1989 the court ruled that a former spouse can't sue the other spouse for intentional infliction if that behavior led to the divorce. Now the supreme court has reconsidered. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

To read the court's opinion, click on this link:

http://ujs.sd.gov/uploads/sc/opinions/27754boeeo6g.pdf

The South Dakota Supreme Court has sent a lawsuit over sunflowers and herbicides back to the Fourth Circuit. A Corson County sunflower grower sued South Dakota Wheat Growers, saying a herbicide prescribed by an agronomist wiped out twelve hundred acres of sunflowers. But the high court says there are disputed issues of fact that need to be resolved by a jury.

Not all speech is free speech under the First Amendment. For instance, libel, slander, fighting words, and yelling "fire" in a crowded theater are not protected. And neither is speech that conveys a credible threat.

The South Dakota Supreme Court drove that fact home in its recent opinion upholding the conviction of Edward Draskovich. Justices say it's not just the speaker's intent that's at issue. It's also the fear inspired in the listener. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the state's liability for flood damage to the property of five Lincoln County families. A lower court found in 2014 that the state Department of Transportation's construction and maintenance of Highway 11 did not adequately provide drainage in an eight-year rainfall event, and the damage was foreseeable. The state appealed, but in a 3-2 split opinion, the high court sided with the landowners. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of John Eric Hemminger. The Aberdeen man stabbed his former girlfriend to death on Jan. 6, 2015, and was convicted by a Brown County jury.

Hemminger claims that officers should have had warrants to take his phone and blood-spattered clothing into evidence.

During oral arguments last month, Assistant Attorney General Patricia Archer told justices that officers didn't need a search warrant. She said Hemminger encouraged officers to search his phone, and that interaction was recorded.

A Sioux Falls woman contesting her insurance settlement is asking the South Dakota Supreme Court to allow her case to go to trial. Earlier this year a Second Circuit court granted summary judgment to two drivers in the collision that left Kathy Schaefer injured. Schaefer says she signed a settlement without understanding it, and a jury should hear the facts. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

A woman fired from an assisted living center in Lead wants a jury to hear her grievances. The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Shirley Harvey says she was fired in 2012 after fellow employees falsely reported her for slapping and isolating a resident. But her employer says she admitted to the conduct and was legally fired under state law. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of Joseph Patterson. He was convicted in 2015 of killing the two-year-old son of Ashley Doohen and former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. The case made national headlines.

Justices have issued a unanimous opinion that the Second Circuit trial court did not make reversible errors, and the conviction stands. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Russell Ray Bertram was convicted of first-degree murder in 2016. A jury found that he intentionally killed his girlfriend with a shotgun while they were hunting in Gregory County in 2009.

Bertram appeals his conviction on two points. He says the prosecution should not have been allowed to introduce evidence of his infidelity to his girlfriend. And he says the judge should have allowed the jury to know he had taken a polygraph.

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Wednesday, Oct. 4. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Andrew Bork, SDPB

A Second Circuit judge ruled earlier this year that a newly constructed house in the McKennan Park Historic District of Sioux Falls has to be remodeled or torn down. The homeowners have appealed that decision to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Justices heard oral arguments Tuesday, Oct. 3. Homeowners contend that a monetary settlement should suffice. But neighbors say the huge house is a nuisance.

An Aberdeen man convicted of stabbing his former girlfriend to death is asking for a new trial. The South Dakota Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

John Eric Hemminger says the state should not have been allowed to present evidence taken without a search warrant. And he says the state unnecessarily introduced 26 autopsy photos, which inflamed the jury. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Terri Leclercq

The Argus Leader sued the City of Sioux Falls for violating South Dakota's Open Records Act. The city entered into a contract with Denny Sanford Premier Center contractors to keep contents of a settlement confidential.

The city maintains that one subpart of the Open Records Act allowed that contract to happen legally. A lower court agreed, and the Argus Leader appealed to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

During oral arguments in January, much was made of the placement of one comma and a shaky concept in legal writing called the Doctrine of the Last Antecedent.

In a case that made national headlines in 2015, Joseph Patterson was convicted of murdering the two-year-old son of former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Patterson appealed his conviction to the South Dakota Supreme Court, who heard arguments Monday, Oct. 2.

At trial, the state brought out testimony that Patterson had a history of harshly punishing other children. Patterson says the evidence unfairly impugned his character. But the state says it was legitimately used to prove motive and absence of accident.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Long-term video surveillance by law enforcement is a search requiring a warrant. That's the decision just issued by a split South Dakota Supreme Court.

The case out of Brookings resulted in the conviction of a drug offender. But the high court did not reverse the conviction. Justices found that the investigator acted in good faith when he installed the camera without first getting a warrant. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Argus Leader in its open records dispute with the City of Sioux Falls.

The city relied on state law to claim it could keep secret the details of a settlement with a contractor. The case involved sub-par metal siding on the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

The Argus Leader sued to gain access to the settlement. A lower court ruled for the city, and the Argus leader appealed.

At oral arguments in January, Argus attorney Jon Arneson said the city's interpretation of state law defeats the intent of open records laws.

SD Unified Judicial System

The South Dakota Supreme Court has issued an opinion that both parties knew was inevitable. Justices have ruled that a state law requiring out-of-state vendors to collect sales taxes from their South Dakota customers is unconstitutional.

As SDPB reported in late August, state authorities knew the bill was unconstitutional but passed it into law anyway and then tried to enforce it.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has the latest development on this ongoing story.

National attention has been drawn to a South Dakota Supreme Court case heard Tuesday, Aug. 29. It centers on a law passed by legislators who knew it could not be enforced.

The law requires out-of-state internet vendors to collect sales taxes from their South Dakota customers and remit the money to the state.

Both sides agreed in advance that justices should not reverse a lower court decision that the law is unenforceable.

The state wants justices to clear the way for the issue to get to the U.S. Supreme Court.

SD Legislature

The state legislature in 2016 passed a law requiring out-of-state vendors to collect sales taxes from their South Dakota customers. The law is particularly aimed at online sellers. Legislators acknowledged that the law is unconstitutional, and that they instigated it to try to get the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before the highest court considers hearing it, however, the law and its aftermath have to face scrutiny from the South Dakota Supreme Court. That happens Tuesday, Aug. 27, when justices hear oral arguments from both sides.

Comments made by a Troy Township supervisor were pivotal in a South Dakota Supreme Court partial reversal. The court made its opinion public on Thursday, Aug. 17.

At issue is the vacating of roads in three townships in Day County. Game, Fish & Parks appealed those vacations to the Fifth Circuit, saying the township boards were trying to cut off public access to disputed bodies of water in Day County.

Annette Bosworth

The South Dakota Supreme Court has overturned Annette Bosworth's perjury convictions but upheld other charges.

Bosworth ran for U.S. Senate in South Dakota in 2014, and lost in the primary election.

To get on the ballot, she submitted nominating petitions to the Secretary of State with a sworn verification that she had personally circulated them. But a subsequent investigation showed she was in the Philippines at the time the signatures were gathered.

The supreme court found that the state misinterpreted the statute it applied when charging Bosworth with perjury.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the state Department of Corrections. DOC was sued by the widow of Ron Johnson, the corrections officer who was killed in 2011 by inmates trying to escape.

Lynette Johnson said penitentiary officials had advance notice that the two inmates presented an escape risk but moved them to a less secure facility anyway. Among other claims, Mrs. Johnson sued DOC for wrongful death and infliction of emotional distress.

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