SD Supreme Court

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:

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.

The South Dakota Supreme Court continues to operate during the pandemic shutdown. One exception is that the court rescheduled March oral arguments, pushing them to the April term.

Later this month, justices will hear oral arguments telephonically, with live audio broadcast online as it always is.

The court has continued to release its opinions to the public every Thursday.

On Thursday, April 9, the Supreme Court released three opinions, and SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more on those.

In January 2017, two agents from the Division of Criminal Investigation went onto the Pine Ridge Reservation to investigate a crime committed off reservation. They were accompanied by a BIA agent.

One of the DCI agents spoke with a suspect. A Sixth Circuit judge later threw out the statements, saying DCI lacked authority in Indian Country.

Now the South Dakota Supreme Court will decide the issue before the case continues in the Sixth Circuit.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

SD Department of Corrections

Roger Jackson was convicted of third-degree rape for having sex with a woman who suffers from a rare form of dementia. In late 2018, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison with five years suspended.

Jackson, now 72 years old, appeals, saying the sex was consensual. He also holds that the investigation was inadequate, because detectives did not interview the woman.

The state says the woman was not legally capable of giving consent, and she was also not able to answer questions reliably.

SD Department of Corrections

A lifer in the state penitentiary has lost a bid for a new trial. Chance Harruff is serving a mandatory life sentence for strangling his former girlfriend.

He appealed, saying five witnesses' testimony overlapped, and that cumulative evidence prejudiced the jury.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has unanimously upheld his conviction

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

The South Dakota Supreme Court will hold its next term on Feb. 10-11, with oral arguments in three cases on the second day.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has overturned the drug conviction of a Deadwood hotel guest whose arrest started with a traffic stop.

Prosecutors held that one taillight violated state law. But the defense argued successfully that it did not, and so all drug evidence leading from that stop was inadmissible.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the conviction of the state's last death-row inmate.

Briley Piper has been appealing his death sentence since January 2001, when he pleaded guilty to murder and other felonies.

In this latest appeal, Piper claims he received flawed legal advice. But justices denied his request for a reversed conviction.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the conviction of the state's last death-row inmate.

Briley Piper pleaded guilty to murder and other felonies in January 2001. He and two friends killed 19-year-old Chester Poage in a gulch near Spearfish in March 2000.

Piper admitted his guilt on advice of his attorneys, believing that taking responsibility would lessen his chances of being sentenced to death. That gambit failed.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the 2007 conviction of an inmate convicted of murdering his wife in Pierre in February 2006.

Brad Reay says his trial lawyer should have called forensic experts to bolster his claim that his adolescent daughter committed the murder.

But the high court says Reay's lawyer used solid strategy.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments for a shorter sentence on Tuesday, Oct. 1, from a murderer who was 17 years old when he committed the crime.

As his sentence now stands, Carlos Quevedo comes up for parole when he's 62 years old. He wants the court to expand the leniency for juvenile offenders established in a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Miller v. Alabama.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Buffalo Chip Campground near Sturgis became Buffalo Chip City in 2015, after local voters approved the move and the Secretary of State filed the papers.

The city of Sturgis and local landowners challenged the process, but the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that it's up to the state to challenge incorporation.

And so it did, and a Fourth Circuit judge ruled for the state and nullified Buffalo Chip's status as a municipality.

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