Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the sentence imposed upon Defendant to a five-year penitentiary term while Defendant was serving a probationary sentence imposed in a different criminal file. On appeal, Defendant argued that the sentencing court imposed an illegal sentence when it placed him under the dual supervision of the judicial and executive branches. The Supreme Court held (1) the sentencing court erred when it placed Defendant under simultaneous supervision of two branches of government; but (2) because Defendant was currently only under the supervision of the executive branch, the sentence was constitutional. View "State v. Humpal" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of threatening a judicial officer and disorderly conduct arising from statements Defendant made in the Minnehaha County Courthouse. At the conclusion of a court trial, the circuit court ruled that Defendant’s statements were “true threats” rather than speech protected by the First Amendment. Defendant appealed, arguing that his statements were protected speech and therefore could not be the basis for criminal conduct. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that Defendant’s statements at the courthouse were not protected speech but, rather, constituted true threats under the relevant factors. View "State v. Draskovich" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of first-degree murder and sentencing him to mandatory life in prison. The court held (1) the circuit court did not err in its evidentiary rulings that Defendant consented to the seizure of his property from the hospital and that the revocation of that consent did not require the return of his property; (2) the circuit court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized at Defendant’s friend’s house; (3) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted twenty-six autopsy photographs during the trial; (4) the circuit court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion for a new trial on his claim of improper burden shifting; and (5) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction. View "State v. Hemminger" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the habeas court’s denial of Appellant’s petition for habeas corpus relief. Appellant pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree manslaughter and to second-degree rape. The circuit court imposed a 130-year sentence for first-degree manslaughter and a forty-five-year sentence for second-degree rape. The Supreme Court affirmed on appeal. Thereafter, Appellant filed a petition for habeas relief, arguing, inter alia, that he was deprived of effective assistance of counsel and was compelled to give testimony against himself where the court ordered a psychological examination and where his attorney failed to warn Appellant that statements made to the examiner could be used against him. The habeas court denied Appellant’s petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant waived his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by failing to invoke it during the psychological examination, and Appellant was not deprived of effective assistance of counsel; and (2) Appellant was not deprived of due process, nor was his counsel ineffective for failing to request a hearing to determine if Appellant should receive provisional institutionalization under S.D. Codified Laws 23A-27-42 View "Iannarelli v. Young" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for second-degree murder. The court held (1) the circuit court did not err in allowing the State to present other acts evidence to the jury but did err in allowing a witness to testify about Defendant’s alleged abuse against her, but Defendant was not entitled to a new trial on this basis; (2) the State’s presentation of a theory of guilt and motive did not amount to prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct; (3) the circuit court did not err in allowing the State to present testimony from its multiple expert witnesses; (4) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to allow Defendant to present additional instances of alleged child abuse committed by a possible third-party perpetrator; and (5) there was sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction against Defendant. View "State v. Patterson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for unlawfully possessing a controlled substance, holding that the evidence was sufficient to prove that Defendant knowingly possessed oxycodone, a controlled drug. At issue on appeal was whether the evidence was sufficient to prove that Defendant knew the pills he possessed were a controlled substance of some kind. The Supreme Court held that, when viewed cumulatively and taken in a light most favorable to the jury’s verdict, there was sufficient evidence and inferences therefrom for a rational jury to have found that Defendant knew the pills he possessed were a controlled substance. View "State v. Martin" on Justia Law

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