South Dakota Legal Overview
The highest court in South Dakota is the South Dakota Supreme Court, consisting of a chief justice and four associate justices appointed by the Governor and then elected for an 8-year term. South Dakota does not have an intermediate appellate court. All appeals from the circuit courts, which are the main trial courts with general and original jurisdiction, are sent to the Supreme Court. There are 41 circuit court judges spread across seven judicial districts, also elected for eight year terms from their own judicial district. Magistrate courts have limited jurisdiction over warrants and depositions, misdemeanors and preliminary hearings.
Top metro South Dakota areas for Legal Issues:
1. Capital punishment is legal in South Dakota, with the death penalty being administered via lethal injection. Several landmark cases originating in the South Dakota courts have ended up producing landmark judgments in the U.S. Supreme Court. In South Dakota v. Bourland (1993), the court abrogated hunting and fishing treaty rights on Indian reservation lands acquired for a reservoir. In South Dakota v. Opperman (1976), the court clarified the law on community caretaking and unreasonable searches. The South Dakota v. North Carolina (1904) case was notable because a federal court was by taking up a dispute between two states.
2. A South Dakota attorney representing a local hospital is facing charges brought on by a blind man who claims the letters KKK were carved into his stomach during an operation.
3. A southeast South Dakota law enforcement official is being accused of knowing information about a specific criminal act and not reporting it.
South Dakota Legal Topics: The unified State Bar of South Dakota (SBSD) was established in 1931 by the state legislature. SBSD now has more than 3,000 members, including all of the nearly 1,900 attorneys and judges licensed to practice law in South Dakota. Lawyer applications for admission into the practice of law are processed by the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners, who are also responsible for administering the State Bar exams. The five members of the board are appointed by the Supreme Court. The offices of the SBSD, the Supreme Court and all the agencies of the judiciary are based in Pierre, SD.