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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the circuit court’s judgment in favor of Plaintiffs awarding damages and an easement enabling Plaintiffs to install an independent tile line underneath Defendant’s property. Uphill landowners (Plaintiffs) and downhill landowner (Defendant) agreed to connect their drain-tile systems to allow for improved drainage across their parcels. Plaintiffs built and maintained an independent tile line that ran across Defendant’s property. Defendant experienced flooding. Believing that the connection of Plaintiffs’ drain tile to his system was the cause, Defendant obstructed the connection and then disconnected his drain-tile system from Plaintiffs’ system, causing water to pool on Plaintiffs’ property. Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking damages and an order permitting them to reconnect the two systems. Defendant counterclaimed arguing that Plaintiffs unlawfully discharged water onto his land. The circuit court held in favor of Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) did not err in concluding that promissory estoppel entitled Plaintiffs to damages and an easement because the parties agreed that Plaintiffs would discharge water into Defendant’s drain-tile system; but (2) erred in concluding a trespass occurred because Defendant did not cause water to enter Plaintiffs’ land where the water was already on the land and Defendant simply caused it to remain there. View "Zwart v. Penning" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellant’s appeal from a letter sent by the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles denying Appellant’s request to review her parole date again. Appellant, a prison inmate, did not appeal from the Board’s adjudication of her initial parole-eligibility date. Two years later, Appellant requested the Board to reconsider. The Board declined, and Appellant filed an administrative appeal in circuit court. The circuit court dismissed the appeal with prejudice, concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because (1) the Board’s letter was not an appealable “decision, order, or action” within the meaning of S.D. Codified Laws 1-26-30.2; and (2) it did not have subject matter jurisdiction to review the Board’s final parole determination. In affirming, the Supreme Court held (1) the Board’s letter declining an additional review was not a final decision in a contested case that could be appealed to the circuit court; and (2) because Appellant did not appeal the Board’s final determination within thirty days as required by S.D. Codified Laws 1-26-31, the circuit court correctly concluded that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear Appellant’s appeal. View "Peterson v. South Dakota Board of Pardons & Paroles" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellants’ requested writ of certiorari to challenge an Attorney General’s ballot explanation of a proposed initiated measure that would limit the price state agencies may pay for prescription drugs. Appellants alleged as grounds for the writ that the Attorney General’s explanation did not comply with the requirements of S.D. Codified Laws 12-13-25.1. The circuit court denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Attorney General did not fail to carry out his statutory duty to provide a ballot explanation meeting the requirements of section 12-13-25.1. View "Johnson v. Jackley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the habeas court denying Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus arguing that his trial counsel’s assistance was ineffective in regard to his decision to plead guilty and in regard to sentencing. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Petitioner pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery. Petitioner did not file an appeal or file a motion to modify his sentence. Instead, he filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus asking the circuit court to vacate his sentence. The habeas court denied the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner failed to prove that the alleged errors in his trial attorney’s performance “actually had an adverse effect on the defense” under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. at 693 (1984), and therefore, Petitioner was not entitled to relief. View "Madetzke v. Dooley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s separate convictions and sentences for aggravated assault and escape. The Court held (1) the circuit court did not err in denying Appellant’s motion to suppress; (2) the circuit court did not err when it denied Appellant a new trial after the jury found him guilty of aggravated assault and guilty of the lesser-included offense of simple assault because the circuit court vacated the jury’s guilty verdict for simple assault; (3) the circuit court did not err when it denied Appellant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal; and (4) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in certain evidentiary rulings. View "State v. Abdo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from a circuit court’s order revoking the clerk of court’s issuance of letters of appointment and the clerk’s statement of informal probate and appointment of personal representative, holding that the circuit court’s order was not a final order from which an appeal can be taken. On appeal, Appellant argued that the circuit court erred in its revocation without giving Appellant notice or an opportunity to be heard. The Supreme Court held that, until further proceedings determined the rights of the parties as it related to the appointment of a personal representative and to the probate of the decedent’s will, the Court did not have appellate jurisdiction under S.D. Codified Laws 15-26A-3(2). View "Estate of Stanton W. Fox" on Justia Law

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In this divorce action, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s valuation of a bank account on a date other than the date of divorce, the decision to recapture into the marital estate the value of home improvements made to a third party’s rental property, and the valuation of Husband’s three business interests. The Court held that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it (1) included the value of the bank account from eleven months before trial; (2) included $15,000 of improvements made to Husband's father’s rental property; and (3) valued Husband's business interests. View "Giesen v. Giesen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the habeas court denying Appellant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated assault. In his habeas petition, Appellant argued that the circuit court committed errors during the jury selection process that warranted a new trial and that his counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance. The habeas court concluded (1) the circuit court committed errors during the jury selection process, but the errors were not structural and Appellant did not prove prejudice; and (2) Appellant failed to prove that counsel was ineffective during the jury selection process. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court’s errors during the jury selection process were not structural and were harmless; and (2) Appellant failed to show that he receive ineffective assistance of counsel. View "Miller v. Young" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the the circuit court’s classification and division of property in this divorce case in all but one respect as regards a clerical issue, which the Court remanded for clarification. Husband and Wife held most of their assets separately throughout their eighteen-year marriage. In granting them a divorce, the circuit court classified most of their assets as marital property and divided them equally. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in classifying the parties’ separately held assets as marital property; and (2) Wife was not entitled to relief on her arguments relating to the circuit court’s division and valuation of property with the exception of her argument that the circuit court erred in failing to divide and allocate three liabilities. Because the court’s failure to allocate these debts may have been a clerical error, the Supreme Court remanded the issue for the circuit court’s classification. View "Arendt v. Chamberlain" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court ordering Eryn Winegeart to sell real estate she owned jointly with her former spouse, Weston Winegeart, holding that the court did not err by ordering Eryn to sign a purchase agreement signed by a third party. After the parties underwent mediation, Weston signed an agreement with a real-estate agent to list the jointly owned real estate, and the listing agreement included a commission for the realtor. After the third party signed the purchase agreement, Eryn refused to sign it, asserting that during mediation Weston had orally agreed to sell the property without paying for a realtor. The circuit court found that the parties had not entered into an enforceable oral agreement in regard to realtor fees and ordered Eryn to sign the purchase agreement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err by entering its order requiring Eryn to sign the purchase agreement. View "Winegeart v. Winegeart" on Justia Law