South Dakota Case Law

The South Dakota state court system is divided into two levels. The only appellate court in South Dakota is the South Dakota Supreme Court, which consists of five judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by lower courts. It also may advise the Governor of South Dakota on executive powers. Decisions by the South Dakota Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.

The lower level of the South Dakota state court system consists of the South Dakota Circuit Courts and the South Dakota Magistrate Courts. There are seven judicial circuits in South Dakota, which contain over 40 judges. The Circuit Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. These courts also review appeals of decisions by Magistrate Courts. The jurisdiction of the Magistrate Courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include preliminary hearings in criminal cases, misdemeanor trials, and civil matters with no more than $12,000 at issue.

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