Chief Justice David Gilbertson

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a Rapid City man who asked a friend for a gun so he could kill his late wife's doctor.

In his appeal, William Thoman held that state law does not support a criminal charge for his specific actions.

But the high court says otherwise.

Victoria Wicks reports on this case for SDPB.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Roger Jackson for third-degree rape.

Jackson was convicted in 2018 for having sex with a dementia patient housed in a care facility in Rapid City.

Jackson contends that the state had to prove he knew the woman's condition rendered her unable to give consent.

The Supreme Court finds otherwise.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

SD Unified Judicial System

A Texas billionaire's divorce case is shining light on South Dakota's trust industry.

Ed Bosarge is divorcing his wife of 30 years, and because of South Dakota's trust laws, he seems to have a good shot at leaving her with nothing.

According to news reports, Bosarge transferred assets into a series of trusts, including in South Dakota, in his name alone, and because of the state's strict privacy laws, his wife can't get information.

That case is stuck in Texas court so far. But it might eventually reach South Dakota.

Senate Bill Ends Presumptive Probation

Jan 9, 2019

A bill sponsored by the South Dakota Attorney General repeals the presumption of probation for non-violent drug crimes.

The presumption was a part of a criminal justice overhaul package passed by the legislature in 2013.

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg campaigned on ending presumptive probation. He says

Ravnsborg says Senate Bill 19 gives discretion back to judges.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that a price can be set on heartache.

The court sends an alienation of affection lawsuit back to the Fifth Circuit to determine monetary damages.

Jerry Cedar of Frederick sued Bruce Johnson for having an affair with his wife and causing the breakup of his marriage.

Circuit Judge Richard Sommers determined at trial that Cedar had not given proof of monetary damages. Cedar appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments from death-row inmate Briley Piper on Monday, Oct. 1. Piper is represented by Sioux Falls attorney Ryan Kolbeck in his attempt to withdraw the guilty plea he entered in 2001. Piper was one of three murderers convicted of kidnapping, torturing, and killing 19-year-old Chester Poage in Spearfish Canyon in March 2000.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

In The Moment ... January 11, 2018 Show 254 Hour 1

South Dakota Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson joins In the Moment for a look at his legislative priorities for the 2018 session.

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 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.

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.

Unified Judicial System

The South Dakota Supreme Court had a majority of female justices for one case on Tuesday, April 25.

Justice Steven Zinter disqualified himself from a case involving incorporation of Buffalo Chip Campground as a city.

Retired Justice Judith Meierhenry sat in on oral arguments, joining Justices Janine Kern and Lori Wilbur to make a 3-2 majority of women.

Chief Justice David Gilbertson announced this historic event to the audience in the courtroom:

Morrisa Maltz

In The Moment ... March 21, 2017 Show 054 Hour 2

Prior to the 92nd session of the South Dakota legislature, we welcomed South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson for a preview. Now, as the session comes to a close, we welcome him back to the program for a recap. We talk about HB1183 and mental health legislation set to change the way citizens with mental health issues interact with the criminal justice system.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Judges, attorneys, and law enforcement endorse a bill in South Dakota’s Statehouse that aims to ease mental health problems for people entering the justice system. House Bill 1183 is a measure that changes competency assessments, creates training for people who work in criminal justice, and encourages works that helps people avoid unnecessary arrests or extended time in jail.

Victoria Wicks file photo

A package of legislation designed to address mental health issues in criminal justice has been presented to the legislature in Pierre. House Bill 1183 is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Chief Justice David Gilbertson has led the effort to reduce recidivism and increase services to mentally ill people who often end up in jail.

In The Moment...January 12 2017 Show 009 Hr 2

Guests: David Gilbertson, SD Supreme Court Chief Justice; Jim Hagen, SD Secretary of Tourism; SDPB's Nate Wek, talks about Detroit Lions running back Zach Zenner; Mat Hames, producer/director of What Was Ours; Jordan Dresser, co-producer of What Was Ours

Legislative leaders are already split over how to budget new money coming to South Dakota. Other stories featured in this podcast include: Governor Dennis Daugaard says he wants the legislature to update the state's wiretapping laws. Chief Justice David Gilbertson calls the rising rates of addiction in South Dakota a new wave of evil.

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

The head of South Dakota’s Supreme Court says the probation system in the state is stretched thin.

With rising rates of drug related offenses, Chief Justice took time to reiterate the savings of the state’s probation program as opposed to incarceration.

South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson calls the rising rates of addiction in South Dakota a new wave of evil.

He says the drug problem in South Dakota has exploded.

Gilbertson says drug crimes accounted for 41 percent of prison admissions in the last fiscal year.

Unified Judicial System

David Gilbertson has been chosen by his colleagues on the South Dakota Supreme Court to serve another four years as Chief Justice.

Gilbertson says one priority is to expand mental health services for addicts and defendants.

Gilbertson was appointed to the court in 1995 and has presided since 2001. In that time, he says, the state's drug and alcohol courts have grown but so have the state's problems with addiction and mental illness.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson joins Dakota Midday with an update on the state’s Mental Health Task Force. The group was formed to research and address a backlog in court-ordered mental competency evaluations. Chief Justice Gilbertson talks about the process and progress of the group.

The first time I interviewed South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson, we were in Pierre, and I was still getting lost in the Capitol building as I tried to gain my bearings.

We talked about the upcoming legislative session and, for whatever reason, I kept wanting to ask him what he was reading. He just seemed like a reader to me – a deep, thoughtful communicator with books.

It’s generally not a great idea to ask a guest what they are reading on air unless you’ve given them fair warning. So I let the distraction pass.

Kevin Woster, KELO-TV Rapid City Bureau, and Seth Tupper, Rapid City Journal enterprise reporter, join Lori Walsh at SDPB Radio’s Dahl Arts Center studio in Rapid City to discuss this week’s political news in South Dakota. From how a contested Republican convention could benefit John Thune to the recently announced grant for mental health initiatives in the state, Tupper and Woster provide insight into the political topics of the week.

Black Hills State University

The Judicial Voices Project captures histories of the South Dakota Supreme Court on its 125th Anniversary.  South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson and Judicial Voices Project Director John Glover discussed the genesis and future of the online project as it documents the Court.

South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson has been a judge for more than 30 years. He sits down with Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to discuss the evolution of criminal justice, the expansion of initiatives such as veterans court,  and how judges can build lives instead of prison walls.

The Chief Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court says challenges in the state’s judicial system are substantial, but not insurmountable.


UJS photo

South Dakota Supreme Court justices weigh in when lawyers come before them to make oral arguments. And they did so in October, when the defense made a case for calling Fall River County residents as jurors for an Oglala Lakota County lawsuit.

Justices issued an opinion in that case Thursday, Nov. 5.

Ballots have sat uncounted in the Fall River County auditor’s office for nearly a year, waiting for settlement of a dispute over legal procedures leading to the election. The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday, Oct. 7, from both sides. High Plains Resources LLC wants to build a dump for oil-contaminated soil just outside Edgemont’s city limits and says it followed state law in getting the county’s permission.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Elder Abuse is garnering attention from leaders in South Dakota. A task force involving members of the judicial branch, the governor’s office, and the state legislature are meeting to better understand the problem. They want to find ways to recognize the crimes and prosecute them. Task force members also want to prevent elder abuse.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota leaders are analyzing elder abuse. The Chief Justice of South Dakota’s Supreme Court David Gilbertson says the often hidden crimes of elder abuse are becoming bigger problems as more people age. All three branches of government are part of a task force trying to understand who is taking advantage of the state’s aging people, how they’re doing it, and what can be done to prevent and punish elder abuse.

Elder abuse takes many forms, but a discussion about money pierces Steve Mielke.

The leaders of South Dakota’s Executive and Judicial branches say they’re teaming up for a comprehensive look at elder abuse in the state. During the regular session, state lawmakers approved an Elder Abuse Task Force. State leaders are also announcing a public conference as the panel begins work.

The World Health Organization uses June 15th to call attention to elder abuse around the globe. Greg Sattizahn with South Dakota’s Unified Judicial System says mistreatment of seniors is a quiet problem.

University of South Dakota

Since 1889, 49 South Dakotans have served as justices of the state Supreme Court. But according to current Chief Justice David Gilbertson, most of them left little behind other than legal opinions. Last year, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of statehood and South Dakota’s judicial system, the five Supreme Court justices recorded oral histories for the Judicial Voices Project. Former living justices were also interviewed about their time on the court along with three veteran attorneys who provided some of the court’s history.