Victoria Wicks

SDPB Freelance Reporter/Producer

Rapid City freelancer Victoria L. Wicks has been producing news for SDPB since August 2007. She has in the past been a newspaper reporter, and she spent about 14 years advocating for crime victims in Rapid City and Aberdeen. Vicky is also a creative writer; several of her short stories have been published, one of them in an anthology titled Fishing for Chickens: Short Stories about Rural Youth. In addition, Vicky is a visual artist, creating pottery, watercolors, oil and acrylic paintings, and photographs. She holds a Master of Arts degree in English from the University of South Dakota.

Victoria Wicks

A family of juggling unicyclists got a roomful of children all fired up at the Rapid City Public Library on Monday, July 23. The free event gave families an opportunity to see a rare form of entertainment. But beyond that, the children received a lesson in the payoffs of persistence. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

The South Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion on Thursday, June 14, that state courts don't have jurisdiction over certification of the Keystone XL pipeline permit.

Pipeline opponents appealed the Public Utilities Commission's 2014 certfication of TransCanada's 2010 permit.

On appeal, a Sixth Circuit judge upheld the certification, and opponents appealed that decision.

Now the high court says neither the Sixth Circuit nor the Supreme Court has standing under state law to hear the appeal.

Franz Jantzen, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

The U.S. Supreme Court is now deliberating whether it should amend or overrule its Quill opinion. That 1992 decision holds that Congress has the constitutional authority to regulate commerce among the states. And absent congressional action, states can't force businesses with no physical presence in the state to collect state sales taxes.

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.

Art Sign Works

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is going before the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 17, to argue in favor of online sales tax collection and remittance. The case is titled South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.

The state passed a law in 2016 requiring out-of-state vendors to collect taxes on sales to South Dakota customers. But South Dakota's law was deemed unconstitutional by state courts, based on a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota.

SD Department of Corrections

In 2014 the warden at the South Dakota State Penitentiary enacted a more stringent policy restricting access to obscene materials.

Inmate Charles Sisney sued in U.S. Federal District Court in Sioux Falls, leaving that court to balance an inmate's civil rights against the need to maintain a safe and orderly institution.

Under the newest policy, not only pictures are banned, but also prose. And images that can be banned include nudity in any context, including art or modern photography.

SD Department of Corrections

Annie Mae Aquash was found dead on the Pine Ridge Reservation in February 1976, killed by a bullet to the back of her head, but no one was charged with the crime for almost 30 years. Then two defendants were tried and convicted.

One of them, John Graham, has lost another appeal.

Graham was extradited from Canada in 2007 after he was implicated by his codefendant.

Avonlee Photography

South Dakota is going before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 17.

The state passed a law in 2016 that requires online vendors to collect and remit sales taxes from their South Dakota customers. South Dakota is asking the court to make that statute enforceable by overturning an earlier opinion in Quill v. North Dakota.

A nationally-recognized law professor says South Dakota's statute does not limit its collection authority to businesses in other states. And so overturning the Quill opinion does not resolve all of the constitutional issues.

Sutton for South Dakota

South Dakota is going to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to get online vendors to collect and remit sales taxes. Attorney General Marty Jackley is arguing the case on April 17. South Dakota's U.S. Representative Kristi Noem has sponsored a bill in Congress to try to accomplish the same thing through federal legislation.

Noem and Jackley, both Republicans, have announced they are running for governor of South Dakota.

Tribal reservations, as sovereign governments, have the authority to collect taxes. Eight tribes within South Dakota's boundaries, along with the National Congress of American Indians, are taking steps to make sure that authority remains intact.

On April 17, South Dakota goes before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that out-of-state and online vendors should collect and remit sales taxes from South Dakota customers.

Victoria Wicks

Rapid City is looking at ways to increase affordable housing. One proposal is to pass an ordinance permitting Accessory Dwelling Units such as mother-in-law apartments or converted garages. These units would be allowed in neighborhoods zoned for single-family houses where the property owner lives on site. Employees of Rapid City's Community Development Department hosted an open house at the downtown library on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Abena Songbird, SD School of Mines Office of Multicultural Affairs

February is National Black History Month, and it's a time when the National Society of Black Engineers comes into focus at the School of Mines and Technology. Two of that group's student representatives tell SDPB's Victoria Wicks that race relations have changed over the years, but not nearly enough. And they say South Dakota's overwhelmingly white population makes it a lonely place for them to live.

Law enforcement officers must get a suspect's consent or a search warrant before collecting a urine sample for drug analysis. That ruling was issued on Thursday, Feb. 22, by the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Justices overturned the conviction of a Huron man who was found guilty in 2015 and has already served his prison sentence. The defense attorney says the opinion effectively overturns a 1999 opinion that allowed officers to demand a urine sample from an unwilling subject.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

To read the opinion, click on this link:

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is now deliberating the federal lawsuit alleging unlawful handling of emergency hearings in Pennington County. Three appellate judges heard oral arguments in St. Paul on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Two tribes, along with Native parents, filed suit almost five years ago against the Seventh Circuit Court, the Pennington County State's Attorney, and the state Department of Social Services. They say officials in these agencies violate the Indian Child Welfare Act, as well as due process protections under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Five years ago tribes and parents sued state and county officials in Pennington County for violating the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from those officials' lawyers, who say their clients should not have been sued because they didn't create the questioned policies. The officials are appealing a federal judge's decision that forced changes in the way emergency hearings are held in child custody cases. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

The Indian Child Welfare Act lawsuit filed in Rapid City's federal court almost five years ago is going to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel is hearing oral arguments in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

In March 2013, the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes, as well as tribal parents, brought suit against state officials in Pennington County. They claim the process for handling abuse and neglect cases routinely violates ICWA and due process rights.

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.

SD Department of Corrections

An inmate on death row for nearly 25 years has argued to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that his lawyers did not adequately represent him.

Charles Russell Rhines says his lawyers should have given the jury more information about his mental health issues at his trial in 1993. He says if they had, the jury might not have sentenced him to die.

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.

The U.S. Supreme Court has postponed South Dakota's attempt to get out-of-state vendors to collect sales taxes. The high court set the case on its conference calendar last Friday, with orders made public on Monday, Jan. 8.

A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's office says the case will go to conference again next Friday, with an outcome to be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

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:

The federal tax reduction for corporations is now in effect. In anticipation, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has set a schedule for investigating how tax cuts can be passed along to energy consumers.

The PUC will hear from six investor-owned South Dakota utilities in two stages. The first deadline for reports is Feb. 1. After that, PUC staff will work with each utility individually to come up with numbers.

In formulating a plan of action, PUC staffer Brittany Mehlhaff says all rates should be adjusted and subject to refund.

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.

South Dakota energy consumers could see a reduction in utility rates as a result of the new federal tax law. President Donald Trump signed the tax bill into law on Friday, Dec. 22, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Investor-owned utilities could be required to pass those savings along to their customers. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has set a hearing for Dec. 29 to give state utilities an opportunity to comment. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more.