South Dakota State of the Judiciary: Alternative Sentencing Programs, Rural Attorney Project, E-Filing

Through an unnumbered report adopted by both the House and Senate, the South Dakota legislature met in joint session January 14 for the purposes of hearing the State of the Judiciary Address of Chief Justice David Gilbertson.

The Chief Justice’s speech (video here) highlighted several items

  • Alternative Sentencing Programs
    • “The notion that the state can jail itself out of addiction problems has proved untenable.”
    • Drug and DUI Courts continue to expand, save state and taxpayers money
    • “This is not a “get out of jail free” card; it is the law of the second chance”
  • Veterans Court
    • “Unless we successfully address the underlying problem instead of only the criminal charge, we accomplish nothing more than warehousing people for a period of time in jail.”
    • Used in 1 county, to be expanded
  • The HOPE programs
    • Drug treatment component of drug court not always available in rural areas
    • Required to call in each day to find out if they are subject to random testing that day
  • Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative
    • Finding alternatives for juveniles beyond 1) probation or 2) placement state institution
    • State-wide implementation of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)
  • Probation
    • “In 2014, the UJS experienced the most significant increase in supervision of persons placed on felony probation in its history.”
  • The Silver Tsunami
    • Most abuse of elderly goes unreported
    • “This is not just a family dispute over family funds. We must recognize it for what it is — felony theft.”
    • Chief Justice polled judges: half indicated they had seen instances of improper management of assets held by elderly
  • The Rural Attorney Project
    • South Dakota Rural Attorney Recruitment Program in its first year and showing positive results
  • Unified Judicial System 125th Anniversary Project
    • Oral history project
  • Electronic Filing
    • Began statewide for criminal cases in January 2014; civil cases in June 2014
    • July 1, 2014: Clerk of Courts’ offices became paperless on a statewide basis
    • Electronic web-based access in 2015
  • Judicial Elections
    • “Justice should not be rationed on the basis of politics.”



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