South Dakota Supreme Court

Adria Botella

In The Moment ... October 1. 2018 Show 433 Hour 2

The South Dakota Supreme Court is holding its October session on the campus of the University of Sioux Falls through Wednesday.  The Court will hear three oral arguments at the Meredith Auditorium in the Jeschke Fine Arts Center.

Mike Thompson, associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Sioux Falls, joined the program with details on the proceedings.

Adria Botella

In The Moment ... July 19, 2018 Show 382 Hour 1

Mark Salter has been sworn in as the 51st Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court and will serve the Second Supreme Court District , where Justice Glen Severson served before his retirement.

A Huron native, Justice Salter has a long record of service, including as the presiding judge for Veterans Treatment Court and as an adjunct professor at the University of South Dakota School of Law.

He joined In The Moment to discuss the future plans for his new position. 

Daugaard To Fill Supreme Court Vacancy In Summer

Jan 19, 2018

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard says he will appoint a justice to a looming vacant seat on the Supreme Court.

Justice Glen Severson will retire his seat in the summer. Daugaard is term limited this year.

Unlike the US Supreme Court, the state’s highest court must take every case appealed to it. Daugaard says the volume of cases grow every year. He says there’s a workload that must be handled.

In The Moment ... August 28, 2017 Show 165 Hour 1

Students at Harrisburg High School are soon going to be able to participate in an early college program which would allow them to earn college credit at no cost to them while still in high school. Joining us today to expand on this program is Superintendent of the Harrisburg school District Jim Holbeck. Welcome to In The Moment.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... May 26, 2017 Show 102 Hour 1

You can hear live music on In the Moment every Friday. Today we welcome Bridget Boen. She grew up in Nebraska and has been living the nomadic musical life for a while. For now, she's settled in Sioux Falls, and we're glad she did. Find her at

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

An issue that infiltrated the 1990's is catching the eye of South Dakotans who fish.

The South Dakota Supreme Court will rule on the second of two lawsuits pertaining to public access to bodies of water for recreation. It’s an issue that took center stage in Day County where several bodies of water formed more than two decades ago following heavy snow and spring rains.

Since then sportsmen have wanted access to the water that pools on private property, but landowners want their privacy. State law holds water in trust for “beneficial use” for the public.

Steve Munsen

In The Moment ... May 8, 2017 Show 088 Hour 1

We're joined by members of the JAS Quintet. Today they bring you a taste of the fourth offering in the Jazz Curators series. "Lady Day" explores the life and music of jazz legend Billie Holiday. Shows are this weekend, May 12 and 13 at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.

In The Moment ... April 12, 2017 Show 070 Hour 2

We begin the hour with Dakota Political Junkies Jon Hunter and Noel Hamiel. Today we talk ethanol, land-owner rights, and how not to sacrifice journalistic standards for the sake of speed. Jon Hunter is publisher of the Madison Daily Leader. Noel Hamiel is former publisher of the Mitchell Republic and a member of the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame.

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.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... March 17, 2017 Show 052 Hour 1

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.

Two of South Dakota’s five Supreme Court justices say issues of justice for minorities in the state are more about poverty than race. Those comments came during a Sioux Falls Rotary meeting on Monday, July 11.

The Sioux Falls Rotary met to discuss exactly how the state’s highest court receives and, subsequently, hears cases.

When asked about how the state administers justice toward minorities in South Dakota, Supreme Court justice Glen Severson says he thinks the state’s judicial system is fair, but he says that’s not the full story.

Photo courtesy of John Murphy

A Hot Springs man convicted of third-degree rape has been denied a new trial. The South Dakota Supreme Court found that the prosecutor's conduct was "exceedingly inappropriate," but the evidence supported the jury's decision to convict. One justice, however, dissented from the majority opinion. Justice Janine Kern said the prosecutor's conduct was so improper, the conviction should be reversed.

The second-degree murder conviction of a Pierre teen has been upheld by the South Dakota Supreme Court. Justices ruled that a jury instruction given by the trial judge was legal. Two justices agreed with the majority opinion, but with reservations, saying that just because something is legal doesn't mean it should be done.

On March 22, the South Dakota Supreme Court heard the appeal of a man convicted of kidnapping. On Thursday, April 7, the court issued a quick turnaround opinion, reversing the conviction.

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.

In May 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law officers need to get a warrant to draw blood from DUI suspects unless exigent circumstances do not allow.

A year later, the South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments that the state's blood draw process was unconstitutional.

In the gap between those two events, Ronald Ray Fischer was arrested in Charles Mix County for running a stop sign while drunk and killing two U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees in a parking lot.

On December 18, 2012, 16-year-old Braiden McCahren of Pierre was arrested for shooting and killing a friend and threatening another friend with a shotgun. He was charged with first-degree murder, but at trial was convicted of second-degree murder. His attorney argued before the South Dakota Supreme Court that McCahren didn't have the chance to defend against the charge of which he was convicted.


The decision to allow the jury to consider second-degree murder came after both parties had rested their cases and just before parties made closing arguments.

In 2010, during the night of July 29-30, the Sioux Falls area saw unprecedented rainfall. Subsequent flooding damaged the property of Lincoln County landowners along the east side of South Dakota Highway 11. Five couples sued the state, saying that the highway blocked the flow of the Spring Creek Tributary because two 48-inch culverts were inadequate. At trial in the Second Circuit, the landowners prevailed, and the state appealed to the Supreme Court. Justices heard oral arguments in that case Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Image by Victoria Wicks

A defendant charged with child abuse is scheduled to go to trial for the second time Monday, Jan. 4. Patrick White Face was convicted in 2013, but that conviction was overturned by the South Dakota Supreme Court.

In the first trial, the state charged White Face with one count, a continuous act, although he stood accused of injuring his infant daughter on two separate occasions.

UJS photo

Fall River County votes have been counted more than a year after the election. And according to the Tuesday, Dec. 29, canvass, voters have turned down county approval of a petroleum-contaminated soil dump proposed for a site near Edgemont. But the state's attorney says the story doesn't end there. High Plains Resources LLC has filed notice of another appeal.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has issued an opinion that gives both sides what they asked for. The state's attorney argued for a new rule to determine whether a defendant's confession is admissible, and the court agreed that the old rule has outlived its usefulness. The defense attorney asked for the old rule to still apply for her client, and the court agreed that it could not in all fairness apply the new rule retroactively in the middle of trial preparation.

UJS photo

Fall River County is now able to count the ballots from a vote taken more than a year ago. The election results have been on hold pending review by the South Dakota Supreme Court, which made its opinion public Thursday, Dec. 10. The dispute was heard in oral arguments in early October. SDPB's Victoria Wicks explains how this situation came about and what happens now.

UJS photo

The South Dakota Supreme Court says eliminating tribal members as potential jurors for Oglala Lakota County court cases violates state law and the state constitution. In an opinion released Thursday, Nov. 5, justices ruled that a 2009 standing order in the Seventh Judicial Circuit exceeded the presiding judge's authority, and a circuit court judge's reliance on it resulted in an unrequested change of venue.

A man convicted of manslaughter in Rapid City, after shooting and killing one of his assailants, argued self defense before the South Dakota Supreme Court earlier this year. On Thursday justices affirmed the trial court on all issues but one. That concern goes back to the judge for more action.

The state argued at trial that Charles Birdshead went to the Rose Inn to sell meth to a 15-year-old girl. There he was attacked in his car by two men who repeatedly hit him in the head. Birdshead pulled a sawed-off shotgun and killed one of them.

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.

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday, Oct. 6, regarding the state’s standards for confessions. A Second Circuit judge excluded a confession in a child rape case, saying there was no corroborating evidence of sexual penetration. The state Attorney General asks justices to reverse the decision or change the standard.

In a Sioux Falls court case, the South Dakota Supreme Court is asked to settle a dispute before it goes to trial. The defense has subpoenaed a law officer’s personnel files, and the judge ruled that they can be examined in camera, or for her eyes only. But a Minnehaha County prosecutor says personnel files are confidential under state law and asks the court to adopt a federal test restricting release of personnel records.

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.

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.