SD Supreme Court

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the life sentence of Jonathon Klinetobe, the Rapid City man who enlisted two other men to murder his ex-girlfriend in 2015.

Klinetobe pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, and in December 2019, the judge imposed the maximum sentence of life without parole.

A month later, Klinetobe argued to the Supreme Court that the sentence was too harsh.

In its opinion issued Thursday, April 15, the Supreme Court disagrees.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has heard a second appeal stemming from a battle over a family ranch near Pukwana.

Attorneys for both sides of the Healy family dispute made their cases before justices on Tuesday, March 23.

One issue is whether a lower court erred by not including as costs around $100,000 of attorneys fees.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

A Fall River County woman convicted for brandishing a broken gun at law officers and kicking a deputy has failed to have her conviction overturned.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has reaffirmed that a person can be charged with aggravated assault even if she knows her gun doesn't work.

Relying on information from the court's opinion, Victoria Wicks reports on this case for SDPB.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of an inmate serving life for kidnapping and rape.

Harry David Evans raised several issues on appeal.

One is whether state law officers had jurisdiction to remove his pickup truck from where it was parked on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

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.

Deuel County

Permits for two Deuel County wind projects have been restored by the South Dakota Supreme Court.

The Deuel County Board of Adjustment unanimously voted to allow construction of two wind farms. Opponents appealed, and a Third Circuit Court invalidated the votes of two board members, finding they had a conflict of interest.

The high court has now overturned that ruling.

Victoria Wicks reports for SDPB.

The South Dakota Supreme Court is allowing a lawsuit against the Hamlin County Sheriff to proceed.

Justices heard arguments in September 2019 that the sheriff oversaw a search of a trailer house that resulted in more than $18,000 worth of damage.

In a divided opinion, justices say the lower court needs to further examine whether the sheriff can legitimately claim qualified immunity.

Victoria Wicks reports for SDPB.

Photos are copied from the SD Supreme Court opinion.

To read the full opinion, click on this link.

The Custer County Commission has repealed its ordinance allowing people to carry guns in the courthouse.

After the ordinance went into effect in December, the Seventh Circuit put forth a policy that circuit judges would no longer appear in person in Custer.

Commission Chairman Jim Lintz says the decision to repeal the ordinance wasn't just about money.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

An agent of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation acted properly when he interviewed an Oglala Lakota suspect on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

That's the opinion of the South Dakota Supreme Court issued Thursday, Jan. 28.

The high court says the suspect's statements to the agent can now be presented to the jury when he goes to trial.

Victoria Wicks ha more on this case for SDPB.

SD Department of Corrections

A South Dakota inmate serving life without parole is asking the South Dakota Supreme Court to overturn his sentence.

Jonathon Klinetobe was charged with masterminding the plot that resulted in the 2015 murder of his former girlfriend in Rapid City.

He agreed to plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter and left it up to the judge to determine his sentence.

At oral arguments on Tuesday, Jan. 12, his attorney said the life sentence violates Klinetobe's Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story.

SD Department of Corrections

A South Dakota inmate who dismembered his victim after killing her is asking for a new trial.

Stephen Falkenberg was found guilty in Yankton County of second-degree murder.

He says the prosecutor at trial focused on the dismemberment even though it occurred in a different state after the victim was dead.

Victoria Wicks has more on this appeal for SDPB.

SD Game Fish & Parks

In 2014, forty non-Indian owners of cabins and other structures at Pickerel Lake challenged Day County's legal ability to impose property taxes. The structures in question are located on tribal land held in trust.

When a Fifth Circuit judge ruled for the county, the property owners appealed.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the lower court and ruled in favor of Day County.

Victoria Wicks reports on this opinion for SDPB.

Chief Justice Gilbertson Looks Back On His Career

Jan 4, 2021
SDPB

In The Moment … January 4th, 2021 Show 965 Hour 1

He has served the Unified Judicial System for over 3 decades, and is the longest-tenured chief justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court in state history and currently in the United States. His retirement is on the horizon and he joins us with a look back on his career.

Guest: Chief Justice David Gilbertson

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a drunk driver who killed two adults and injured a young girl.

Now a state prison inmate, the driver says Highway Patrol troopers should have obtained a warrant before asking for a blood draw.

The state says a warrant is not necessary when a chaotic crime scene doesn't allow time to get a warrant, and the high court agrees.

For Victoria Wicks's previous coverage of state and federal DUI legal protocols, find links below.

SD Department of Corrections

An inmate serving life for fatally shooting his girlfriend and setting her apartment on fire has lost his bid for a new trial.

The South Dakota Supreme Court issued that opinion on Thursday, Dec. 10.

Justices say if any errors were made at trial, they were harmless, in light of the overwhelming amount of solid evidence.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

Listen here:

SD Department of Corrections

A Rapid City man convicted of soliciting a weapon so he could kill his late wife's doctor has appealed his case to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Now a prison inmate, William Ray Thoman was represented by his attorney at oral arguments on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Victoria Wicks has more on this case for SDPB.

Listen here:

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.

Listen here:

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:

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.

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.

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.

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 appealed that conviction to the state Supreme Court. At oral arguments in February, Jackson held that the state should have had to prove criminal intent, that he knew the woman's dementia rendered her unable to give consent.

His attorney argued that there are varying levels of dementia.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the rape conviction of Cole Taylor.

The prison inmate argued in April that the judge at his trial should not have allowed the jury to hear testimony from Taylor's prior sexual assault victims.

But the high court says prior bad acts evidence is admissible if it's relevant and not unduly prejudicial.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

BP

The petroleum company BP does not have to reimburse a state environmental cleanup fund. The South Dakota Supreme Court made that opinion public on Thursday, Aug. 13.

Over 12 years, the state's Petroleum Release Compensation Fund reimbursed BP more than $3 million for cleanup of leaks from underground tanks at South Dakota gas stations.

A few years later, the state asked for it back.

Victoria Wicks has more of this story for SDPB.

SD Department of Corrections

An inmate who committed murder at the age of 17 has been denied a shorter prison sentence.

Carlos Quevedo stabbed a Rapid City convenience store clerk to death during a robbery in January 2017.

He appealed his 90-year sentence to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

In an opinion made public on Thursday, July 23, the high court upheld the sentence that allows Quevedo a chance at parole when he's 62.

Victoria Wicks has this report for South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

Listen to the story here:

Thirty-five Chinese nationals who lost millions when the EB-5 immigrant investment program went bankrupt can't sue South Dakota state agencies.

That's the decision of the South Dakota Supreme Court, issued Thursday, June 25.

A lower court dismissed the lawsuit because state agencies involved in running the investment program did not waive sovereign immunity.

The high court affirms that decision.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more.

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.

SD Department of Corrections

Cole Patrick Taylor was convicted of rape by a Lawrence County jury one year ago this month. Now he appeals his conviction to the South Dakota Supreme Court, who heard oral arguments on Wednesday, April 22.

Taylor says the trial judge should not have allowed testimony from other women who told the jury Taylor had raped them also.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

SD Department of Corrections

An Aberdeen man found guilty of killing his girlfriend and setting fire to her apartment has appealed his conviction.

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday, April 21, by video conference.

Jose Rodriguez says the trial judge erred when he considered testimony from an unavailable witness.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

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