In May 2018 a postal worker at St. Francis saw a baggie of white powder that had fallen out of a broken package.

Rosebud Sioux Tribal Police field-tested the contents and soon after arrested the intended recipient.

In preparation for trial, the defendant asked the judge to suppress the evidence, claiming the government conducted an illegal search.

The issue went before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals last week. Victoria Wicks explores this case further for SDPB.

Listen here:

A federal inmate is appealing his conviction for selling a drug that almost caused a user's death.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments last week.

Michael Cooper says the U.S. Attorney should not have been allowed to tell the jury about a prior drug sale leading to an overdose. And he says the government failed to prove its case.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

Listen here:

A bank robber serving federal time for threatening Yankton bank employees with a fake bomb is appealing his sentence.

David Giese asked a South Dakota federal district court for an evidentiary hearing in a bid for a lighter sentence.

When that failed, he took the issue to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Appellate judges heard arguments on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

Listen here:


In a historic moment, the Rapid City Council has voted to approve a resolution  that is valued at $20 million dollars that will “Resolve Three Outstanding Deeds Related to the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands,” in a 9-to-1 vote Nov. 16th.

A Sioux Falls woman is suing three police officers and the city for violating her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search of her home.

A lower court denied the city's request for summary judgment, and the city has appealed that decision to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Justices heard arguments on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Victoria Wicks has more on this case for SDPB.

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Buffalo Chip cannot be incorporated as a municipality.

That's the decision of the South Dakota Supreme Court made public on Thursday, Nov. 12.

The Buffalo Chip campground is a popular attraction for bikers during the Sturgis Rally. It applied for incorporation in February 2015, and Meade County voters approved the plan.

Lawsuits ensued, in part to answer the question if "or" means "and" under certain circumstances.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB. Listen here:

U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit

While the nation was wrapped up in vote counts and uncertainty, lawyers argued the fate of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Last Wednesday, Nov. 4, a U.S. Department of Justice lawyer argued against requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to complete an environmental study, even though the Corps has already started one.

A lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the pipeline no longer has a valid easement and should be shut down now.

Victoria Wicks has more on these virtual courtroom arguments for SDPB. Listen here:

SD Secretary of State Talks 2020 Election Results

Nov 4, 2020

In The Moment … November 4, 2020 Show 935 Hour 1

Steve Barnett is South Dakota's Secretary of State and he joins us with election update and recap.

Reporting on politics and public policy is supported by the Center for Western Studies at Augustana University

Both incumbent Congressional candidates in South Dakota will return to Washington DC next year.

Both candidates won by wide margins, according to unofficial election results from the Secretary of State.

It was an unconventional campaign for US Senate this year. Most of the campaign existed virtually and on the airwaves. The two candidates also never debated in person. 

Senator Rounds says that’s in part due to his wife Jean’s cancer diagnosis and his schedule in the Senate.


Republicans hold a supermajority in the South Dakota statehouse. For Democratic legislators, every seat counts to ensure their caucus is represented on committees. 

There were 16 Democratic lawmakers in Pierre during the last legislative session, compared to 91 Republicans.

Troy Heinert of District 26 served as minority leader in the Senate this year. He trailed his Republican opponent early on election night. Heinert says this election mirrors his 20-18 race.


Over 215,000 absentee ballots are filed with county auditors across South Dakota.

That’s nearly 95 percent of absentee ballots requested. And teams assembled by county auditors are sorting those ballots.

In the state’s second largest county  absentee voting has been extremely heavy this year. Pennington County received more than 37,000 absentee ballots, nearly double that from 2016.

Given that influx an absentee ballot board has been at work since 7 am, opening ballots and putting an official stamp on them and getting them ready to run through the tabulators.

Montana Federal Court briefs

A Montana federal judge has again declined to issue an order to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

But that denial does not mean TransCanada has the green light.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community asked for the order as part of their lawsuit against President Donald Trump.

Victoria Wicks has this story for SDPB. Listen here for more.

In May 2017, Jamie Shoulders of Kyle shot Chris Janis, who was sitting in a minivan conducting a drug deal.

Shoulders later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. The motive for the murder still remains baffling.

Shoulders was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. He appeals the length of his sentence to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments on Friday, Oct. 23.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB. Listen here.

In 2001, Oakley Engesser was convicted of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular battery resulting from a car crash near Sturgis.

Engesser spent 12 years in prison, all the while maintaining he had not been driving.

After his conviction was overturned, Engesser sued investigators and prosecutors for ignoring witnesses and mishandling physical evidence, but those efforts failed.

Now he has turned to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments on Thursday, Oct. 22.

In 2016, public and private officials gathered on a 10-acre tract of land near Brookings to break ground for an indoor aquaponics farm.

Investors were told the $11 million enterprise would raise fish and grow hydroponic vegetables and fruit.

But it was never built.

A year and a half later, the two developers were indicted for fraud.

Both were convicted, and one of them is now appealing. Oral arguments were held telephonically on Wednesday, Oct. 21, before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It's Harvest

Oct 13, 2020
Courtesy photo

This fall marks the 101st harvest on the Bainbridge family farm near Ethan. As their combine rolls across fields of corn, the family says their farm is much more than a family business; it’s a legacy.

Born and raised on the farm his sons Matt and Neal now run, third-generation farmer, Lewis Bainbridge says he has a lot to be grateful for this harvest.

Sierra Club is appealing the permitting process for a confined hog and cattle operation in Clay County.

A First Circuit judge found that the Club did not have standing to appeal the county's permit.

Sierra Club took that decision to the South Dakota Supreme Court, which heard arguments on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

This is the last of the three-day October session held at the University of South Dakota School of Law.

Victoria Wicks covers this argument for SDPB.

SDPB News: Oct 7

Oct 7, 2020

State lawmakers approve some CARES Act dollars for public and private school students, and two college professors in the state have invented a better way to purify pharmaceuticals. All this and more in today’s SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

SD Department of Corrections

An inmate serving a life sentence for kidnapping and rape is asking the South Dakota Supreme Court for a new trial.

Harry David Evans says several aspects of his 2019 trial were unfair. One issue he raises is that the Seventh Circuit trial judge allowed evidence of Evans's misconduct from about 25 years earlier.

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Victoria Wicks has more of this report for SDPB.

The South Dakota Supreme Court started its October term at the University of South Dakota School of Law on Monday, Oct. 5.

The high court is hearing oral arguments for three days.

The first day ended with an appeal from a retired Highway Patrolman who was shot during an armed standoff in January 2015, by a schizophrenic man who was off his meds.

The patrolman says the shooter's mother is liable, not because she failed to stop her son's behavior, but because she helped to cause it.

Victoria Wicks has coverage of this case for South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

SDPB News: Sep 24 COVID Numbers

Sep 24, 2020

Your South Dakota COVID-19 numbers update for September 24th, 2020.

Policing & Calls For Change In South Dakota

Sep 24, 2020

Days after George Floyd was killed by officers from the Minneapolis Police Department, thousands of people marched in protest ... here in South Dakota. Rapid City protests included clashes between protestors and self-described supporters of President Trump. The Sioux Falls outcry included confrontations with police after nightfall and several arrests. 

So, what does the future of policing look like in South Dakota?

Dakota Political Junkies

Sep 21, 2020

In The Moment … September 16, 2020 Show 903 Hour 1

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.

Paramount Network: Take Action/ Protect Our Land

Two tribes are suing the South Dakota Secretary of State and three state agencies for violating federal voter registration laws.

The Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes filed in South Dakota federal court on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires certain state agencies to offer unsolicited help with registration. A lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund says South Dakota simply doesn't do it.

A request for comment from the SD Secretary of State has not yet been acknowledged.

SDPB News: Sep 11 COVID Numbers

Sep 11, 2020

SDPB brings you a COVID numbers update for September 11th, 2020. Subscribe to the SDPB News podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

SDPB News: Sep 11

Sep 11, 2020

What is the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommending South Dakota health officials to do now that the state is considered in a "red zone?

This and more in today’s SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

SDPB News: Sep 10 COVID Numbers

Sep 10, 2020

SDPB brings you a COVID numbers update for September 10th, 2020. Subscribe to the SDPB News podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

Victoria Wicks

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in shortages of a wide variety of necessities. Most notable has been testing equipment and protective gear for healthcare workers, as well as toilet paper and disinfectant spray.

And the closing of restaurants has created a resurgence of home cooking and food preparation that has resulted in a scarcity of staples such as yeast and flour.

SDPB News: Sep 10

Sep 10, 2020

How does Governor Kristi Noem plan to use $400 million for businesses? Where else will the state concentrate federal funding efforts?  All this and more in today’s SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.