Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for two counts of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions. Defendant gained control of a police officer's Taser during an altercation. Defendant was convicted of resisting arrest and aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer. On appeal, Defendant argued that a Taser is not a dangerous weapon and that he did not attempt to use the Taser to cause serious bodily harm to either officer. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the jury could have concluded that Defendant attempted to use the Taser in a manner likely to inflict serious bodily harm upon the officers. View "State v. Foote" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of simple assault and kidnapping, holding that the trial court did not err in the proceedings below and that Defendant's sentence was not unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court did not err when it denied Defendant's motion for a mistrial for an alleged Brady violation; (2) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Defendant's motion for a mistrial; (3) Defendant was not denied a fair trial due to cumulative errors; and (4) Defendant's sentence was not grossly disproportionate or excessive. View "State v. Delehoy" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court affirming the magistrate judge's denial of Defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained during a vehicle stop, holding the magistrate judge did not err by concluding that the stop was justified under the community caretaker exception. Defendant was convicted in magistrate court of driving under the influence. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress all evidence and statements obtained during the traffic stop, arguing that the police officer lacked reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the officer was acting in his community caretaking role when he stopped Defendant's vehicle in the parking lot, and the officer provided specific and articulable facts supporting his decision to stop Defendant's vehicle. View "State v. Short Bull" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of two counts of aggravated assault by physical menace, holding that no error requiring reversal occurred in the proceedings below. A jury found Defendant guilty of the aggravated assault of his wife and his wife's sister. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions, holding (1) Defendant was not prejudiced by the circuit court's decision in admitting a police officer's opinion on the nature of Defendant's wife's wounds, but the error was not prejudicial; (2) the evidence was sufficient to support both counts of aggravated assault by physical menace; and (3) the trial court erred in including a notation that the aggravated assault of Defendant's wife constituted domestic abuse when the jury made no such finding, but the remedy is to remand for entry of an amended judgment without the notation. View "State v. Scott" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from the habeas court's denial of Appellant's petition for writ of habeas corpus for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the certificate of probable cause issued by the circuit court was inadequate. Appellant was found to have violated the terms of his probation and forced to serve his sentence with credit for time already served. Thereafter, Appellant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, alleging violations of his rights to due process and effective assistance of counsel. The habeas court denied the petition after a trial and filed an order for issuance of certificate of probate cause. Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the habeas court's order for issuance of certificate of probable cause was insufficient to render jurisdiction to this Court. View "Wright v. Young" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for first-degree robbery and aiding, abetting, or advising first-degree robbery stemming from two separate cases, holding that any error in the proceedings below was harmless. Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court did not by denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictments for violation of his statutory and constitutional rights to a speedy trial; (2) Defendant’s waiver of Miranda rights and subsequent statements were voluntary, knowing, and intelligent; and (3) although Defendant invoked his right to an attorney, his unambiguous request occurred after he had confessed to the crimes, and therefore, the detectives’ error in continuing the interview after that point was harmless, and the circuit court’s failure to exclude Defendant’s post-invocation statements was also harmless. View "State v. Two Hearts" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for second-degree murder, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a convicted drug offender, holding that no error occurred in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held that the circuit court (1) did not abuse its discretion by denying Defendant’s motion to sever; (2) did not err by allowing other acts evidence and certain opinion testimony to be introduced at trial; (3) did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion for a mistrial; and (4) did not err in denying Defendant’s motions or judgment of acquittal. View "State v. Stone" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of second-degree murder, holding that the circuit court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of first-degree manslaughter. On appeal, Defendant argued that the circuit court abused its discretion by refusing to instruct the jury on first- and second-degree manslaughter and that there was insufficient evidence in the record to support his conviction of second-degree murder. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the evidence entitled Defendant to an instruction on first-degree manslaughter. The Court remanded for a new trial on the issue of jury instructions for lesser-included offenses. View "State v. Swan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentence, imposing in connection with his conviction of second-degree rape, of forty years in the state penitentiary, with five years suspended, to run consecutive to the prison term Defendant was currently serving in Iowa for offenses involving the same victim, holding that the sentence was not cruel and unusual in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) after weighing the gravity of the offense against the sentence Defendant received, the circuit court did not violate Defendant’s constitutional rights by imposing a sentence within the authorized fifty-year maximum; and (2) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant. View "State v. Yeager" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for unauthorized possession of a controlled substance and admitting to five prior felony convictions but reversed Defendant’s sentence, holding that the record lacked a sufficient statement of aggravating circumstances that would justify a departure from a presumptive sentence. Here, the judgment and sentence contained a purported statement of aggravating circumstances, but it was not provided by the sentencing court on the record. The Supreme Court held (1) under S.D. Codified Laws 22-6-11, the sentencing court, not the prosecutor, must state on the record the aggravating circumstances impacting public safety as a predicate to departing from a presumptive sentence and include those factors in the written judgment; and (2) the circuit court incorrectly determined that section 22-6-11 did not apply and in sentencing Defendant as though he had actually been convicted of a class C felony, rather than a class 5 felony. View "State v. Roedder" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law