South Dakota Court Records
South Dakota Court records can be searched for either in person at the courthouse or local library, or remotely through the Internet. It is convenient for legal professionals and the public to have options when accessing the court records of their state. These records might be used for legal purposes, such as finding a historical decision before beginning a new case, or simply to better understand the judicial process or locate vital and genealogical records.
There are three types of entities in the South Dakota judicial system: the Supreme Court, South Dakota District Courts and South Dakota Magistrate Courts. Each of these courts contributes to the court records of the state through their own filings and documentation.
History of South Dakota Court Records
A month before South Dakota achieved statehood in October, 1889 the citizens voted to elect their first three Supreme Court Justices. They also raised and donated $30,000 to erect the original county courthouse in Pierre.
South Dakota Court Records Availability
South Dakota boasts a well-organized online directory of free and publicly accessible court records of the State, County and Municipal courts. The court records and legal documents available include arrest and warrant records, criminal records, civil judgments, bankruptcies and liens, lawsuits, jail and inmate records, vital records, property records and police reports.
The South Dakota Supreme Court Law Library located in Pierre is also a vital resource for court records. Here you can find historical documents, Supreme Court decisions, oral arguments and even legal periodicals for review.
Main Court Information
The Supreme Court of South Dakota is the highest appellate court of the state and is deemed the court of last resort for legal rulings; it is represented by a Chief Justice and four associate justices. The Supreme Court is responsible for overseeing cases involving the interpretation of the state and federal constitutions, ruling on appealed cases from lower courts, and providing disciplinary action to members of the Bar in South Dakota as necessary.
There are seven Circuit Courts of South Dakota, each with its own justice presiding. These courts are trial courts and have jurisdiction over their individual districts in civil and criminal cases. A uniquely specialized court branch of South Dakota is the Drug Treatment Courts who are intended to target those with a combined criminal and drug or alcohol abuse history. As a greater need for prosecution arose, the first of these courts was established in 2007. Lastly is the Small Claims Court, which handles cases of monetary or property sums valued at $12,000 or less.
In the fiscal year of 2014, the Supreme Court received 388 filings and had 347 dispositions. Similarly, the previous year had 326 filings and 374 dispositions.