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Custer County Courthouse: Guns In, Judges Out

South Dakota Unified Judicial System

Custer County allows open-carry firearms in its courthouse. Because of that ordinance, judges of the Seventh Circuit will now conduct Custer County hearings in Rapid City, either in person or through audio visual communication.

Presiding Judge Craig Pfeifle proposed that response in early December, after the county ordinance went into effect.

Pfeifle says the Custer County Courthouse is "currently unsuitable and insufficient" because of safety concerns. He says Custer County trials, even though held in Rapid City, will draw from a Custer County jury pool.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has approved the Seventh Circuit policy. Chief Justice Steven Jensen signed the order on Thursday, Jan. 14.

The high court ordered that the Seventh Circuit policy remains in effect until further notice, or until Custer County repeals its ordinance.

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