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Filing a Complaint

The procedure for filing a complaint for misconduct against a judge in South Dakota is described in SDCL ch. 16-1A, Appx.III(2).

Please use the complaint form provided here or at the bottom of the page. Any person wishing to file a complaint against a judge should state the facts of his or her particular situation as clearly and as specifically as possible. Under the rules, the complaint must allege facts which would demonstrate:

  • A violation of the Judicial Code of Conduct (Appendix to SDCL ch.16-2) (see above);
  • Willful misconduct in office;
  • Habitual intemperance;
  • Disability that seriously interferes with the performance of the judge’s duties; or
  • Violation of any constitutional provisions or statutes or conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice and brings a judicial office into dispute.

Complaints filed against judges must be written and may be directed to:
Judicial Qualifications Commission
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501

E-mail complaints are not allowed.

If you choose to submit an anonymous complaint, your complaint may not be able to be investigated by the Judicial Qualifications Commission if the complaint is incomplete or if more information is needed from you in order to proceed.

Investigation and Hearings

The Secretary of the Judicial Qualifications Commission will distribute the written complaint to all members of the Commission. You will receive notice from the Secretary that your complaint was received. Review and investigation of the complaint will be conducted according to the rules governing judicial disciplinary proceedings.

Under these rules, the complaint may be forwarded to the judge complained against. You will receive notice from the Secretary if this happens. The judge is given ten days to respond, and you will receive a copy of the judge’s response and be given an opportunity to reply. The response and your reply will be provided to all Commission members.

If the Commission decides to issue a private reprimand, you will receive notice that no formal disciplinary action will be taken. A private reprimand is a written reprimand of the judge by the Commission. However, the Commission may proceed to formal disciplinary proceedings which may include a hearing. You will be notified by the Secretary of the final outcome of any formal disciplinary proceeding.

The Commission dismisses unfounded complaints.

Complaint Form

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