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United States District Court for the District of South Dakota

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District of South Dakota
Eighth Circuit
District of South Dakota-seal.png
Judges: 3
Posts: 3
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Karen Schreier
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota is one of ninety-four United States district courts. The court is based in Sioux Falls with other courthouses in Rapid City, Pierre, and Aberdeen. The district was created in 1889, when the Dakota Territory was divided into North and South Dakota. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown St. Louis at the Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse and Building.

The United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Brendan V. Johnson.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has zero vacancies out of their three posts.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief Judge Karen Schreier1956Sioux Falls, SDClinton 7/7/1999 - Present2006 - PresentRichard BatteySt. Louis U., A.B., 1978Saint Louis U. School of Law, J.D., 1981
Judge Jeffrey Viken1952Huron, SDObama 09/30/2009 - PresentLawrence PiersolUniversity of South Dakota, 1974University of South Dakota School of Law, 1977
Judge Roberto Lange1963Pamplona, SpainObama 10/21/2009 - PresentCharles KornmannUniversity of South Dakota, B.A., 1985Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1988

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Charles KornmannClinton 3/24/1995 - 7/31/20087/31/2008 - PresentCollege of St. Thomas, B.A., 1959Georgetown U. Law Center, LL.B., 1962
Senior Judge Lawrence PiersolClinton 11/22/1993 - 7/31/20091999 - 20057/31/2009 - PresentUniversity of South Dakota, B.A., 1962University of South Dakota School of Law, J.D., 1965
Senior Judge Richard BatteyReagan 10/28/1985-1/1/19991994-19981/1/1999-PresentUniversity of South Dakota, 1950University of South Dakota School of Law, J.D., 1953
Senior Judge John B. JonesReagan 11/18/1981 - 1/1/19951991 - 19941/1/1995 - PresentUniversity of South Dakota, B.S., 1951University of South Dakota School of Law, LL.B., 1953

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge William D. Gerdes02/27/2009 - Present
Magistrate Judge Veronica Duffy06/11/2007 - Present
Magistrate Judge Mark Moreno1993 - PresentUniversity of Illinois, B.A., 1980Creighton U. Law, J.D., 1983
Magistrate Judge John Simko09/01/2000 - Present


The Counties of the District of South Dakota (click for larger map)

The District of South Dakota has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.

The jurisdiction of the District of South Dakota consists of all the counties in the state of South Dakota. The counties are split into four different divisions known as the Northern Division, the Southern Division, the Central Division, and the Western Division.

The court is based in Sioux Falls with other courthouses in Rapid City, Pierre and Aberdeen.




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time(Criminal)**:Median time(Civil)**:3 Year Civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 943117921221017 11057.813.349 (11.9%)026
2012 827121520421040 10027.31148 (11.8%)026
2011 78310481831969 8627.114.249 (11.7%)032
2010 7949671761954 8077.512.535 (8.6%)0.725
2009 842100718491007 8427.411.520 (4.8%)14.024
2008 81710081825947 8786.912.516 (4.1%)228
20077171141185810847746.810.513 (3.3%)021
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.    **Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.    ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.

Notable cases

For a searchable list of opinions, please see District of South and Filings.


Court history

The District of South Dakota was established by Congress and assigned to the Eighth Circuit on February 22, 1889 with one post to cover the entire state. Over time two additional judicial posts were added for a total of three posts.[3]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the District of South Dakota:[3]

Year Statute Total Seats
February 22, 1889 25 Stat. 676 1
February 26, 1929 45 Stat. 1317 2(1 temporary)
1933 Temporary post expired 1
February 10, 1954 68 Stat. 8 2 (1 temporary)
September 7, 1957 71 Stat. 631 2
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 3

Former chief judges

In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.[4][5]

Former judges

For more information on the judges of the District of South Dakota, see former federal judges of the District of South Dakota.

Federal courthouse

Four separate courthouses serve the District of South Dakota.

See also

External links


South DakotaSouth Dakota Supreme CourtSouth Dakota Circuit CourtsSouth Dakota Magistrate CourtsUnited States District Court for the District of South DakotaUnited States bankruptcy court, District of South DakotaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitSouth Dakota countiesSouth Dakota judicial newsSouth Dakota judicial electionsJudicial selection in South DakotaSouthDakotaTemplate.jpg