South Dakota Supreme Court Decisions

In addition to reviewing appeals of decisions by lower courts, the South Dakota Supreme Court may advise the Governor of South Dakota on their executive powers. It also manages the South Dakota Unified Judicial System, which involves creating a budget and overseeing state trial courts. The Supreme Court has the responsibility to develop procedures and practices for the legal profession in the state, including rules for the conduct of attorneys and the administration of courts. A Stanford University study in 2012 found that it is the most conservative state supreme court in the U.S.

Five justices serve on the South Dakota Supreme Court. Each justice serves an eight-year term. To serve as a justice, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of South Dakota, as well as a voting resident in the judicial district that they seek to represent on the Court. A candidate also must be licensed to practice law in the state. South Dakota is divided into five appointment districts, each of which is represented by one justice. After the South Dakota Judicial Qualifications Commission develops a list of nominees for a vacancy, the Governor will appoint the new justice. Once a justice has been appointed, they must go through a retention election three years later to serve the rest of their term. The Chief Justice is elected to serve a four-year term by a vote of the other justices.

South Dakota imposes a mandatory retirement age of 70 on its judges. A justice also may be removed from the South Dakota Supreme Court if they are impeached by a majority vote of the South Dakota House of Representatives and convicted by a majority vote of the South Dakota Senate. Alternatively, a justice may be removed or retired by the other justices on the Supreme Court if the Judicial Qualifications Commission recommends taking this step.

Browse Opinions From the South Dakota Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the South Dakota Supreme Court
Batchelder v. Batchelder  
Date: October 13, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 60
Docket Number: 29523

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court issuing a permanent protection order against Matthew Batchelder, holding that the circuit court's order did not rest upon sufficient factual and legal support....

State v. Falkenberg  
Date: October 6, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 59
Docket Number: 29287

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of second-degree murder but reversed the court's restitution order in part, holding that the restitution order did not comply with S.D. Codified Laws 23A-28-3. After fi...

Olson v. Berggren  
Date: September 29, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 58
Docket Number: 29367

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment dismissing Plaintiff's claims alleging improper distribution, fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduci...

Interest Of N.A.  
Date: September 29, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 57
Docket Number: 29413

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court declaring N.A. a delinquent child, holding that the circuit court erred by finding that Officer Brandon Bassett did not use excessive force against N.A. When...

Jurgens v. Tronvold  
Date: September 22, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 56
Docket Number: 29114

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting summary judgment to Defendants, the City of Pierre and the Pierre Volunteer Fire Department (PVFD), in this personal injury action, holding that the tria...

In re Guardianship & Conservatorship of Adam  
Date: September 22, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 54
Docket Number: 29359

Justia Opinion Summary: In this guardianship and conservatorship action, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting the conservator's motion for approval of a settlement agreement reached in a separate civil action br...

Sheard v. Hattum  
Date: September 22, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 55
Docket Number: 29496

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this wrongful death suit, holding that the circuit court properly dismissed Plain...

First Dakota National Bank v. Gregg  
Date: September 15, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 53
Docket Number: 29340

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court determining that Arthur and Jerilyn Gregg were not estopped from asserting that their son-in-law, Tyler McGregor, had no rights in their cattle, and therefore,...

Paweltzki v. Paweltzki  
Date: September 8, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 52
Docket Number: 29298

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Defendants' 2013 motion to enforce a purported settlement agreement and to compel arbitration and dismissing Defendants' claim for unjust enrichment...

Jans v. Department of Public Safety  
Date: September 8, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 51
Docket Number: 29471

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Department of Public Safety to disqualify Appellant's commercial driver's license (CDL) for one year after he pled guilty to driving under the influence (DUI) and received a...

Anderson v. Tri State Construction, LLC  
Date: August 25, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 50
Docket Number: 29336

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the decision of the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation (Department) concluding that it lacked jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claim seekin...

May v. Spearfish Pellett Co.  
Date: August 18, 2021
Citation: LLC, 2021 S.D. 48
Docket Number: 29386

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the decision of the Department of Labor and Regulation determining that a copy of a letter to Appellant's insurer seeking a review of his workers' co...

In re Estate of Petrik  
Date: August 18, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 49
Docket Number: 29432

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court granting a petition to terminate a joint tenancy filed with the estate action of one of the deceased tenants without notice or a hearing, holding that the failure...

Nelson v. Campbell  
Date: August 11, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 47
Docket Number: 29254

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal seeking review of four adverse pretrial decisions after the circuit court granted summary judgment on some of the parties' claims, holding that accepting appellate jurisdiction wou...

State v. Mitchell  
Date: August 4, 2021
Citation: 2021 S.D. 46
Docket Number: 29194

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated Defendant's sentence imposed in connection with his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter, holding that the district court abused its discretion in imposing the sentence. After a confrontati...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.