The South Dakota Supreme Court held its October hearings at USD’s School of Law courtroom from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.
The Court heard nine cases in total, three per day. Cases covered a wide variety of topics, including the Buffalo Chip and a murder.
The Buffalo Chip case pertained to local and state government powers and the incorporation of the campground and performance area in Sturgis. The murder case pertained to the evidence involved and the intent of the murder.
“They get to see what it’s like to be a real live lawyer out in the field, so that is exciting for them,” School of Law Dean Neil Fulton said. “The cases the Supreme Court will typically pick when they are sitting down here, focus on what the students are studying.”
The hearings were open to the public, but security precautions were taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
The Highway Patrol and the Supreme Court coordinates security for the event. The doors that face the Al Neuharth Media Center were locked to the public. The Justices and their clerks were the only people allowed in those doors, Fulton said.
Fulton said the main doors were open with metal detectors, everyone had to go through. The Law School provided Court Marshals to ensure the seven doors leading into the courtroom were not used during the hearings.
Law students and undergraduate students were encouraged to attend the hearings by their professors. There were citizens of the area around the
The state’s lone Law School resides in Vermillion. This presents a unique opportunity for students at USD to attend a Supreme Court hearing without traveling to another city, Fulton said.
“We are the state’s law school… so we are a resource to the state, we are a resource to the Supreme Court for them to be out and have not only USD students but also high school students who came to see the work of the court,” Fulton said.