Pennington County State's Attorney

Victoria Wicks file photo

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul has overturned a Rapid City federal court's finding that South Dakota agencies systematically violated the Indian Child Welfare Act.

In March 2013, tribes and parents brought a class-action suit against the state Department of Social Services, Seventh Circuit Court, and the Pennington County State's Attorney.

Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken found for the plaintiffs in a partial summary judgment, but state officials successfully appealed his decision to the Eighth Circuit.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more of this story.

courtesy photo

A federal judge has ordered Seventh Circuit and Pennington County officials to stop violating the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Judge Jeffrey Viken's order affects emergency hearings held within 48 hours of the removal of children from their parent or guardian's care.

The judge's order responds to a lawsuit filed in Rapid City in March 2013 and resolves seven of eight issues. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports on this latest development.

Image by Victoria Wicks

The jury in a Pennington County child abuse case has failed to reach a unanimous verdict. On Friday evening, Jan. 8, after determining that the jury was hung, Seventh Circuit Judge Wally Eklund declared a mistrial. It is now up to the State's Attorney to decide whether to go through another trial. If tried again, Patrick White Face will face only one charge. Before the jury went into deliberation, Judge Eklund entered a judgment of acquittal on Count II.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

A Rapid City defendant accused of child abuse testified on his own behalf Thursday, Dec. 7, before a Pennington County jury. Patrick White Face is accused of injuring his infant daughter on two separate occasions about five years ago. White Face told jurors he did not cause his baby's injuries, and that his version of what happened has remained consistent since the day the injuries occurred. SDPB's Victoria Wicks is following this week-long trial.

More of the story:

The Pennington County trial for Patrick White Face comes to a close on Friday, Dec. 8.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

A Rapid City jury heard opening statements Monday, Dec. 4, in a criminal trial on allegations of abuse that left an infant brain-damaged, deaf, and blind. Patrick White Face is charged with breaking his six-week-old daughter's leg and then, four days later, causing other injuries. But the defense attorney says the child's physical symptoms are consistent with illness and do not point to abuse.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a man serving prison time for attempted fetal homicide. Alfredo Vargas was found guilty by a Pennington County jury in late September 2013. The high court has found reversible errors in the trial process. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks covered the trial and reports on this new development.