State v. Draskovich, 2017 SD 76. Draskovich was convicted of threatening a judicial officer and disorderly conduct as a result of statements he made in the Minnehaha County Courthouse. The circuit court ruled that the statements were “true threats,” rather than First Amendment-protected speech. He had told the clerk of courts that he could “see why people shoot up courthouses,” and, when discussing a judge’s refusal to grant him a work permit, he commented to Court Administration, “Well, that deserves 180 pounds of lead between the eyes.” On appeal, the Court, per Justice Zinter, affirmed, concluding that a reasonable recipient would view his statements as “a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence” against court staff and the circuit court judge.
On November 7, 2017, the South Dakota Supreme Court considered a number of proposed modifications to the appendix to SDCL chapter 16-17, which sets forth the by-laws of the South Dakota State Bar, as well as amendments to SDCL 16-18-34.4 and the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In re Guardianship of Novotny, 2017 S.D. 74. The sole beneficiary of an irrevocable trust petitioned the circuit court to terminate the trust and distribute the trust property to her. After a hearing on the beneficiary’s motion for summary judgment, the circuit court refused to terminate the trust and entered summary judgment in favor of the trustees. The beneficiary appealed, the Court, per Justice Wilbur, reversed and remanded, concluding that the trust purpose had been fulfilled, and that termination of the trust would “substantially further the trustor’s purposes in creating the trust.” The circuit court was therefore directed on remand to terminate the trust and distribute the trust property, which was “in accordance with the trustors’ probable intention.”
Erickson v. Dep’t of Public Safety, 2017 S.D. 75. Erickson, who holds a commercial driver’s license, pleaded guilty to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more (SDCL 32-23-1(1)) – as opposed to driving under the influence of alcohol (SDCL 32-23-1(1)). The South Dakota Department of Public Safety subsequently disqualified him from operating commercial motor vehicles for one year. Erickson appealed the Department’s decision to circuit court, which reversed the Department’s decision without remanding. The Department appealed, and the Court, per Chief Justice Gilbertson, reversed the circuit court’s decision, concluding that SDCL 32-12A-36(1), which disqualifies a person from driving a motor vehicle if they have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, includes convictions for both driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more (SDCL 32-23-1(1)) and convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol (SDCL 32-23-1(1)). The Department therefore properly disqualified Erickson from holding a commercial driver’s license for one year.
The Court has released the list of its October 2017 summary dispositions:
|State v. Sharp||28026||10-10-17||Affirmed||Long|
|State v. Oquendo Cedeno||28140||10-10-17||Affirmed||Brown|
|State v. Beynon||28141||10-10-17||Affirmed||Spears|
|Interest of A.M. and E.M.||
|Interests of O.A., E.A., and L.A.||
Surat v. America Township, Brule Cnty. Bd. Of Supervisors, 2017 S.D. 69. The board of supervisors downgraded a seven-mile stretch of road from full maintenance to minimum maintenance. A portion of the road provided the Surat family and Surat Farmers access to South Dakota Highway 50. Surat appealed the Board’s decision to the circuit court. The circuit court reversed the board’s decision, and the Township appealed.
The Court is inviting proposals for the amendment or adoption of rules to be considered at its scheduled February 13, 2018, Rules Hearing. To view the Court’s invitation, click here.
Reede Construction, Inc. v. South Dakota Dep’t of Transportation, 2017 SD 63. The South Dakota DOT contracted with Reede Construction to perform highway construction work in Sioux Falls. DOT refused to issue a letter of acceptance after requesting numerous repairs, many of which Reede never performed. Reede eventually left the job and demanded payment for the repairs it had completed. Reede sued, and DOT counterclaimed. At trial, the jury returned a verdict awarding no damages to either party. DOT filed a motion for a new trial, arguing insufficient evidence supported the jury’s verdict. The circuit court denied the motion, and the Court, per Chief Justice Gilbertson, affirmed.
Chicoine v. Davis, et al., 2017 S.D. 62. The Chicoines brought an action asking that the circuit court declare that they had an access easement across Mineral Survey 1758 into the adjoining Mineral Survey 1794. The circuit court found that no easement existed, either by grant or prescription. The Chicoines appealed the circuit court’s determination, asserting that a public right-of-way existed across Mineral Survey 1758 by grant. They did not appeal the denial of a prescriptive easement. The Supreme Court, per Justice Severson, affirmed, concluding that the deeds to Mineral Survey 1758 that include a “statutory easement” unambiguously refer to section-line highways established by SDCL ch. 31-18, which establishes a public highway along every section line in the state, and that, alternatively, the requirements for a public easement by grant would need to be demonstrated. There was, however, no dispute that the road was not along a section line, and there had been no argument that the road was a relocated section-line highway. The Court therefore could not determine whether the road in dispute was a section-line highway. The Chicoines therefore had not met their burden as they failed to establish a right in the disputed road that traverses Mineral Survey 1758 by grant in deeds or by statute.
The South Dakota Supreme Court will hold its November Term in Pierre on November 6, 7, and 8, 2017.
The Court has released the list of its September 2017 summary dispositions:
|State v. Thomas||August||28038||Affirmed||Jensen|
|State v. Arends||August||28043||Affirmed||DeVaney|
|State v. Janis||August||28073||Affirmed||Eklund|
|Good v. Carlson||August||28090||Affirmed||Pfeifle|
|Estate of Snaza||August||28102||Affirmed||Flemmer|
|State v. Warner||August||28125||Affirmed||DeVaney|
|Wolford v. Bd. of Pardons & Paroles||August||28157||Affirmed||Salter|
|Dillon v. Moeller v. Westfield Indus., Ltd.||August||28118||Affirmed||Barnett|
|State v. Eckman||August||28119||Affirmed||Eng|
|Morris v. Dooley||SAugust||28019||Affirmed||Trandahl|
|State v. Riese||August||28012||Affirmed||Davis|
|Interest of K.S., K.S., K.S., and V.S.||N/A||28062||Affirmed||Gusinsky|
As it stands, this means that we can likely expect written opinions in the following cases from the August 2017 calendar:
- Moulton v. Moulton, #27991
- State v. Shelton, #28016 (This opinion was published on September 13, 2017).
- Scherer v. Scherer, #28023
- Beals v. Autotrac, Inc., #28024
- State v. Martin, #28025
- Sigler v. Sigler, #28057
- Riggs v. Bennett Cnty. Hospital & Nursing Home, #28092
- Richarz v. Richarz, #28104
- Chicoine v. Davis, et al., #28114
- State v. Bolton, #28127
- Iannarelli v. Young, #28151
- Oyen v. Lawrence Cnty. Comm’n, #28085
- Wyman v. Bruckner, #27935
- State v. Wayfair, #28160 (This decision was issued on September 13, 2017).