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ARTICLE V

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

1.      Judicial powers.
2.      Supreme Court.
3.      Circuit courts.
4.      Courts of limited jurisdiction.
5.      Jurisdiction of courts.
6.      Qualifications of judicial personnel.
7.      Judicial selection.
8.      Selection of the chief justice.
9.      Qualifications commission.
10.      Restrictions.
11.      Administration.
12.      Rule-making power.
13.      Transition.
14 to 39. Superseded.


     § 1.   Judicial powers. The judicial power of the state is vested in a unified judicial system consisting of a Supreme Court, circuit courts of general jurisdiction and courts of limited original jurisdiction as established by the Legislature.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, § 1; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 2.   Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest court of the state. It consists of a chief justice and four associate justices. Upon request by the Supreme Court the Legislature may increase the number of justices to seven. All justices shall be selected from compact districts established by the Legislature, and each district shall have one justice.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, §§ 5, 6, 11; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 3.   Circuit courts. The circuit courts consist of such number of circuits and judges as the Supreme Court determines by rule.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, §§ 16, 17; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 4.   Courts of limited jurisdiction. Courts of limited jurisdiction consist of all courts created by the Legislature having limited original jurisdiction.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, §§ 19 to 23; amendment of § 23 proposed by SL 1905, ch 69, approved Nov., 1906; amendment of §§ 19 and 20 proposed by SL 1966, ch 197, approved Nov. 8, 1966; substitution of new section proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 5.   Jurisdiction of courts. The Supreme Court shall have such appellate jurisdiction as may be provided by the Legislature, and the Supreme Court or any justice thereof may issue any original or remedial writ which shall then be heard and determined by that court. The Governor has authority to require opinions of the Supreme Court upon important questions of law involved in the exercise of his executive power and upon solemn occasions.
     The circuit courts have original jurisdiction in all cases except as to any limited original jurisdiction granted to other courts by the Legislature. The circuit courts and judges thereof have the power to issue, hear and determine all original and remedial writs. The circuit courts have such appellate jurisdiction as may be provided by law.
     Imposition or execution of a sentence may be suspended by the court empowered to impose the sentence unless otherwise provided by law.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, §§ 2, 3, 13, 14; § 39 as proposed by SL 1929, ch 83, approved Nov., 1930; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 6.   Qualifications of judicial personnel. Justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the circuit courts and persons presiding over courts of limited jurisdiction must be citizens of the United States, residents of the state of South Dakota and voting residents within the district, circuit or jurisdiction from which they are elected or appointed. No Supreme Court justice shall be deemed to have lost his voting residence in a district by reason of his removal to the seat of government in the discharge of his official duties. Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of circuit courts must be licensed to practice law in the state of South Dakota.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, §§ 10, 25, 37; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 7.   Judicial selection. Circuit court judges shall be elected in a nonpolitical election by the electorate of the circuit each represents for an eight-year term.
     A vacancy, as defined by law, in the office of a Supreme Court justice or circuit court judge, shall be filled by appointment of the Governor from one of two or more persons nominated by the judicial qualifications commission. The appointment to fill a vacancy of a circuit court judge shall be for the balance of the unexpired term; and the appointment to fill a vacancy of a Supreme Court justice shall be subject to approval or rejection as hereinafter set forth.
     Retention of each Supreme Court justice shall, in the manner provided by law, be subject to approval or rejection on a nonpolitical ballot at the first general election following the expiration of three years from the date of his appointment. Thereafter, each Supreme Court justice shall be subject to approval or rejection in like manner every eighth year. All incumbent Supreme Court justices at the time of the effective date of this amendment shall be subject to a retention election in the general election in the year in which their respective existing terms expire.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, §§ 8, 15, 37; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972; amendment proposed by SL 1979, ch 3, approved Nov. 4, 1980; amendment proposed by SL 2003, ch 1, § 1, rejected Nov. 2, 2004.


     § 8.   Selection of the chief justice. The chief justice shall be selected from among the justices of the Supreme Court for a term and in a manner to be provided by law. The chief justice may resign his office without resigning from the Supreme Court.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, § 9; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 9.   Qualifications commission. The Legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of a judicial qualifications commission which have such powers as the Legislature may provide, including the power to investigate complaints against any justice or judge and to conduct confidential hearings concerning the removal or involuntary retirement of a justice or judge. The Supreme Court shall prescribe by rule the means to implement and enforce the powers of the commission. On recommendation of the judicial qualifications commission the Supreme Court, after hearing, may censure, remove or retire a justice or judge for action which constitutes willful misconduct in office, willful and persistent failure to perform his duties, habitual intemperance, disability that seriously interferes with the performance of the duties or conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings a judicial office into disrepute. No justice or judge shall sit in judgment in any hearing involving his own removal or retirement.

History: Section proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 10.   Restrictions. During his term of office no Supreme Court justice or circuit court judge shall engage in the practice of law. Any Supreme Court justice or circuit court judge who becomes a candidate for an elective nonjudicial office shall thereby forfeit his judicial office.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, §§ 31, 35; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 11.   Administration. The chief justice is the administrative head of the unified judicial system. The chief justice shall submit an annual consolidated budget for the entire unified judicial system, and the total cost of the system shall be paid by the state. The Legislature may provide by law for the reimbursement to the state of appropriate portions of such cost by governmental subdivisions. The Supreme Court shall appoint such court personnel as it deems necessary to serve at its pleasure.
     The chief justice shall appoint a presiding circuit judge for each judicial circuit to serve at the pleasure of the chief justice. Each presiding circuit judge shall have such administrative power as the Supreme Court designates by rule and may, unless it be otherwise provided by law, appoint judicial personnel to courts of limited jurisdiction to serve at his pleasure. Each presiding circuit judge shall appoint clerks and other court personnel for the counties in his circuit who shall serve at his pleasure at a compensation fixed by law. Duties of clerks shall be defined by Supreme Court rule.
     The chief justice shall have power to assign any circuit judge to sit on another circuit court, or on the Supreme Court in case of a vacancy or in place of a justice who is disqualified or unable to act. The chief justice may authorize a justice to sit as a judge in any circuit court.
     The chief justice may authorize retired justices and judges to perform any judicial duties to the extent provided by law and as directed by the Supreme Court.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, §§ 7, 12, 29, 32; amendment of § 7 proposed by SL 1913, ch 135, rejected Nov., 1914; amendment of § 7 proposed by SL 1917, ch 158, approved Nov., 1918; new section proposed by SL 1968, ch 223, rejected Nov. 5, 1968; amendment proposed by SL 1969, ch 243, § 40, approved Nov. 3, 1970; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 12.   Rule-making power. The Supreme Court shall have general superintending powers over all courts and may make rules of practice and procedure and rules governing the administration of all courts. The Supreme Court by rule shall govern terms of courts, admission to the bar, and discipline of members of the bar. These rules may be changed by the Legislature.

History: 1889 Const., art. V, §§ 2, 4, 27, 28, 33; amendment proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     § 13.   Transition. The Legislature by law and the Supreme Court by rule shall provide for the orderly transition of the judicial system in conformity with this article.

History: Section proposed by SL 1972, ch 2, approved Nov. 7, 1972.


     §§ 14 to 39.   Superseded


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