South Dakota SCT Enforces Rosebud Tribal Court Judgment Against Estate of Former Elected Official

Here is the opinion in Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Estate of Colombe.

An excerpt:

An estate appealed from a circuit court’s decision to grant comity to a Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court order. The order pierced a business’s corporate veil and held decedent personally liable for a judgment in favor of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. We affirm.


Appellee’s Brief

Appellant’s Amended Brief

Reply Brief

Burden of Proof ICWA Case out of South Dakota


In this case, Mother challenged the QEW and the burden of proof requirement for termination of parental rights. The concurrence is particularly useful:

The circuit court in this case found many of the facts beyond a reasonable doubt where that was not the correct standard of proof and failed to find certain facts beyond a reasonable doubt where applying that high standard is required. This may indicate that confusion exists on the applicable standards of proof in abuse or neglect proceedings, including those where ICWA applies. I write specially to clarify the standards of proof by which the court must issue certain findings.

The concurrence also explains that South Dakota is a state that requires active efforts to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a termination of parental rights. Contra State of New Mexico v. Yodell. B. (N.M. Ct App. 2015) 

South Dakota SCT Decides Matter Involving Shannon County (Pine Ridge) Jury Pools

Here is the opinion in Good Lance v. Black Hills Dialysis (S.D.). From the opinion:

Vera Good Lance sued Black Hills Dialysis, LLC and LeEtta Brewer (collectively, BHD) for negligence after suffering an injury from a fall while at BHD’s facility in Shannon County on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.1 A dispute arose between the parties about whether the circuit court should summon jurors from Shannon County or neighboring Fall River County. A 2009 standing order issued by the Seventh Circuit Presiding Judge required that all cases filed in Shannon County be venued in Fall River County. In accordance with this order, the circuit court ruled that it would summon Fall River County jurors. Good Lance, through her estate’s administrator Hilda Kills Small, requested this intermediate appeal. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.


South Dakota Supreme Court Declines Jurisdiction over Challenge to Transfer of Trust Land

Here is the opinion:

Estate of Ducheneaux v Ducheneaux

An excerpt:

The Estate of Wayne Kenneth Ducheneaux appeals the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court’s denial of its motion for summary judgment and that court’s dismissal of the Estate’s action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Estate argues Wayne Ducheneaux (the Decedent) lacked the requisite mental capacity, or was unduly influenced by Douglas D. Ducheneaux (Ducheneaux), when the Decedent transferred two quarter sections of Indian trust land located in Tripp County, South Dakota, to Ducheneaux. Although the Estate acknowledged the circuit court had no authority to directly return title of the trust land to the Estate, the Estate nevertheless asserts the circuit court had personal jurisdiction over Ducheneaux and, therefore, could have compelled Ducheneaux to make application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to transfer the two quarter sections back to the Estate. We agree that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction over the parcels held in trust by the United States and affirm.

South Dakota SCT Remands Conviction Appeal for Hearing on Potential Batson Violation (Race Discrimination in Jury Selection)

Here is the opinion in State v. Scott.

An excerpt:

Defendant was convicted of aggravated assault. On appeal, he alleges multiple errors in his trial. We affirm all issues but one. On that issue, we remand for further proceedings on a potential Batson violation.

Land Sale Dispute on Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation Remanded to State Trial Court

What a case — McGuire v. Aberle. Law profs looking for a good fact pattern check these first two paragraphs out:

In 1967, Raymond and Margaret Becker’s eight children each inherited an undivided one-eighth interest in patented fee land located within the exterior boundaries of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation. None of the Beckers are Indians. In 2006, one of the Becker children sold her undivided one-eighth interest to Patrick and Carletta Aberle. Patrick is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Carletta is a non-Indian. Patrick subsequently conveyed his interest to his son. Before this suit, Patrick’s son transferred the property back to Patrick. As a result, Patrick and Carletta each own an undivided one-sixteenth interest.

Sometime after Patrick and Carletta acquired their interests, a dispute arose between the Aberles and the Becker children who still retained an interest in the property. The Becker children commenced this action in circuit court, seeking a sale of the entire property. The Aberles counterclaimed for partition. Patrick also moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Patrick argued that because he was a member of the Tribe, and because he had become an owner of an undivided one-sixteenth interest in property on the Reservation, the circuit court possessed no subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute between the parties. Aberles contended the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Court had jurisdiction.

On remand, the trial court will have to answer the following riddle:

But the problem in this case is that the record does not reflect how and under what authority the land in question was initially alienated. That is significant because counsel for the Tribe and Aberles contended at oral argument that this land could not have been alienated under the General Allotment Act of 1887 (the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation was not created until 1889). Counsel also argued that we should read the 1908 Act differently than the General Allotment Act. Moreover, counsel for the Becker children agreed that the nature of the patent and the Act under which it was granted is important to the jurisdiction question. But that information is not known or reflected in this record.

South Dakota SCT Issues ICWA Active Efforts Decision

Here is the opinion in In re S.H.E.

An excerpt:

The record demonstrates that DSS actively attempted to reunify the family. The services provided to Father, in conjunction with DSS’s considerable efforts to help Mother1 and Mother2, satisfy the “active efforts” requirement under ICWA. Accordingly, the circuit court did not err in finding, beyond a reasonable doubt, that reasonable and active efforts were made to reunify the family.