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South Dakota Courts: The State of Judiciary and Fiscal Year 2002 Annual Report of the South Dakota Unified Judicial System

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2003
50 pages
This document presents a report on the state of the judiciary and the 2002 annual report of the Unified Judicial System in the State of South Dakota.
Many of the new programs instituted this year were in response to the number one factor that has significantly impacted the judicial system--the disintegration of the family. A Child in Need of Supervision (CHIN’s) Project has been piloted in two counties. The focus of a CHIN’s case has shifted from a child-centered issue to a family-centered issue. The project is designed around a short-term high impact treatment model involving mental health, education, and employment services managed by a team including a court services officer, the dispositional judge, and the service providers. The South Dakota Supreme Court hears arguments in approximately 90 appeals each year. This past August marked a new era in the coverage of these South Dakota Supreme Court oral arguments. The Unified Judicial System launched “live” online streaming over the Internet of the audio portion of the South Dakota Supreme Court’s oral arguments. This service allows interested persons to listen to the oral argument of an appeal from their home, office, or school. It provides “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of the arguments, which educates and informs the citizens of the State about the appellate process and their State government. The South Dakota Supreme Court disposed of 428 cases in 2002. At the circuit court level, overall case filings have remained consistent with past years. There has been a significant increase in three major areas: domestic protection orders, felony filings, and small claims filings. There were 2,893 people appearing in circuit court on petitions alleging domestic abuse and seeking the court’s protection from other people. There was a 25 percent increase in the number of felony filings. The Court Services Division introduced and implemented new juvenile and adult risk and needs assessments. These research-based assessments will assist the judiciary with community safety issues. 19 tables, 22 charts