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
In re Petersen Trusts  
Date: November 23, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 72
Docket Number: 29745

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court granting Sally Johnson's request to supervise and reform a trust and denied Mindy Smith's petition seeking clarification from the…

Goens v. FDT, LLC  
Date: November 23, 2022
Citation: LLC, 2022 S.D. 71
Docket Number: 29911

Justia Opinion Summary: In this action concerning a disputed agreement between between Kenneth and Rebecca Goens and Lynn VanSloten for the sale of an empty lot, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction under…

State v. Guzman  
Date: November 16, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 70
Docket Number: 29722

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions of first-degree rape and sexual contact, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of his allegations of error. After a second trial, a jury found…

State v. McDermott  
Date: November 16, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 69
Docket Number: 29874

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of third-degree rape, entered following a jury trial, holding that there was sufficient evidence in the record to sustain the conviction, and therefore, the circuit court…

J. Clancy, Inc. v. Khan Comfort, LLC  
Date: November 9, 2022
Citation: INC. v. KHAN COMFORT, LLC, 2022 S.D. 68
Docket Number: 29876

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court determining that J. Clancy, Inc. had performed under a contract for renovations of a Spearfish hotel and that Khan Comfort, LLC had breached the contract by…

State v. Hankins  
Date: November 2, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 67
Docket Number: 29801

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant, after a jury trial, of two counts of first-degree rape, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in the way it handled…

State v. Alvarez  
Date: November 2, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 66
Docket Number: 29884

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of first-degree rape, in violation of S.D. Codified Laws 22-22-1(1), holding that the court did not err in denying Defendant's request to withdraw his guilty…

Little v. Hanson County Drainage Board  
Date: October 26, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 63
Docket Number: 29463

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court affirming the decision of the Hanson County Drainage Board granting a drainage permit sought by James Paulson to clean out a pre-existing ditch, holding that…

Dunham v. Sabers  
Date: October 26, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 65
Docket Number: 29558

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court granting a divorce to Husband and Wife on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, holding that the circuit court erred in…

Kaiser Trucking, Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co.  
Date: October 26, 2022
Citation: INC. v. LIBERTY MUTUAL, 2022 S.D. 64
Docket Number: 29612

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court in favor of Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company in this insurance dispute, holding that the circuit court improperly dismissed the complaint for failure to…

Spaniol v. Young  
Date: October 19, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 61
Docket Number: 29634

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Appellant's petition for habeas corpus, holding that the circuit court did not err in denying the petition after holding an evidentiary…

Murphey v. Pearson  
Date: October 19, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 62
Docket Number: 29766

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court in this action brought by Plaintiff to determine custody, child support, and shared parenting of the parties' child and on…

Hermanek-Peck v. Spry  
Date: October 12, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 60
Docket Number: 29649

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the S.D. Codified Laws chapter 21-65 does not create a private right of action that survives a vulnerable adult's death and that a predicate theft conviction is not required to maintain an…

U.S. Bank National Ass'n v. S.D. Dep't of Revenue  
Date: October 5, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 59
Docket Number: 29338

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the South Dakota Department of Revenue rejecting U.S. Bank's method of calculating its federal income tax deduction from net income subject to the state's bank franchise tax for…

State v. Larson  
Date: October 5, 2022
Citation: 2022 S.D. 58
Docket Number: 29712

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for second-degree murder and aggravated battery of an infant, holding that the circuit court did not err during the proceedings below and that there was sufficient…

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.