Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s termination from the drug-court program and subsequent revocation of suspension of execution of a four-year sentence. Contrary to Defendant’s arguments raised on appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) this court may not directly review the drug court’s actions in this appeal, but the court does have appellate jurisdiction over the circuit court’s decision to revoke the suspension of execution of Defendant’s sentence; and (2) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by revoking the suspension of execution of Defendant’s sentence and by reinstating her original, four-year sentence. View "State v. Stenstrom" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of first-degree robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Contrary to Defendant’s arguments on appeal, the court held (1) the State’s evidence was sufficient to corroborate accomplice testimony, and therefore, the circuit court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal; (2) even if the circuit court’s admission into evidence several challenged evidentiary items was in error, the error was harmless; (3) the circuit court did not violate Defendant’s right to confront and examine a witness whose out-of-court statements were admitted at trial; and (4) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in imposing Defendant’s sentence. View "State v. Kihega" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the denial of the circuit court’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained after law enforcement officers executed a search warrant for Defendant’s home and arrested Defendant. The officers obtained the warrant based on information gained from a pole camera installed without a warrant on a public street light to record Defendant’s activities outside of his home. On appeal, Defendant argued that the officers’ use of the pole camera without a warrant violated the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court held (1) the warrantless use of the pole camera, installed to observe Defendant’s activities outside his residence for a two-month period, constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment, and therefore, the officer that installed the camera was required to first obtain a warrant; but (2) the officer acted reasonably based on the facts of this case, and the circuit court did not err when it denied Defendant’s motion to suppress based on the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. View "State v. Jones" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence discovered after police officers executed a search warrant at Defendant’s home. During the search, officers found marijuana in Defendant’s van, which was parked outside the home. The circuit court ruled (1) Defendant did not have a personal, legitimate expectation of privacy in his friend’s home and therefore could not challenge the search; and (2) alternatively, the search did not violate Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err when it denied Defendant’s motion to suppress because Defendant did not establish a protectable interest in the property searched. View "State v. Gaters" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of fourth-degree rape, holding that the circuit court had jurisdiction to enter the judgment even where Defendant did not receive a preliminary hearing after the State filed an amended information. The State filed the amended complaint and information to correct a clerical error in the original indictment. Defendant was not advised of his right to a preliminary hearing, nor did he receive one, but Defendant failed to object. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) while the judge erred by continuing to preside over this matter after he deemed himself disqualified under the Code of Judicial Conduct, the error was harmless; and (2) Defendant waived the issue relating to a preliminary hearing when he failed to object before trial. View "State v. Shelton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for eight offenses, rendered after a jury trial. The court held (1) the circuit court did not err in admitting certain out-of-court statements as res gestate evidence; (2) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction of possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm; (3) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction of simple assault on a law enforcement officer while armed with a firearm; and (4) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction of possession of a controlled substance. View "State v. Kiir" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of several offenses charged in two indictments. The circuit court granted the State’s motion to join both indictments for trial. After a trial, Defendant was convicted of all offenses. Defendant appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in joining the indictments and in admitting evidence of an unknown bystander’s report that Defendant may have possessed a gun. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in joining the indictments because the joinder was proper and Defendant failed to make a sufficient showing of prejudice; and (2) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of the bystander’s report. View "State v. Goodshot" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was convicted of one count of first-degree manslaughter and received a sentence of life imprisonment. Defendant appealed his sentence, arguing that the circuit court abused its discretion in light of other sentences imposed for manslaughter in Minnehaha County, as well as his lack of criminal history. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the sentencing court did not abuse its discretion by sentencing Defendant to life imprisonment where (1) the sentencing court could reasonably conclude that Defendant’s offense was among the most serious commissions of first-degree manslaughter, and (2) the court’s finding that rehabilitation was speculative was not clearly erroneous. View "State v. Talla" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was convicted of possessing cocaine and sentenced to imprisonment for five years, fully suspended on conditions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated when the trial court refused to grant Defendant’s motion to suppress and permitted an officer to testify that Defendant refused to provide a urine sample after her arrest; (2) the circuit court did not err by refusing to permit Defendant to offer evidence that the State did not obtain a warrant for a urine sample, and an officer’s testimony regarding Defendant’s statements was not inadmissible hearsay; and (3) the prosecutor did not commit misconduct during the State’s closing argument. View "State v. Stanley" on Justia Law

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Appellant appealed his conviction of five counts of possessing child pornography. Appellant argued (1) there was insufficient evidence to prove that he knowingly possessed child pornography; (2) S.D. Codified Laws 22-24A-3, the statute defining possession of child pornography, is unconstitutionally vague; and (3) he was convicted multiple times for a single act or course of conduct in violation of double jeopardy protections. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find that Appellant knowingly possessed the five images of child pornography for which he was charged; (2) there was no plain error for the court to notice with regard to the constitutionality of section 22-24A-3; and (3) there was no plain error for the court to notice with regard to double jeopardy. View "State v. Linson" on Justia Law