Gilbertson Gives Final State Of The Judiciary To 2020 Legislative Session

(KCCR) — South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson, for the final time Wednesday gave his annual State of the Judiciary message to a joint session of the South Dakota Legislature. Gilbertson says 11 years ago specialty courts were non-existent in the state and today they are making a difference…

“Today we now have 19 of those programs that cover significant portions of South Dakota. 516 South Dakotans have successfully graduated from those programs. The condition of the judicial services offered to the residents of South Dakota and those who use our court system is excellent. Recently, a Harris poll was taken on the status of the state court systems in all 50 states. I was delighted to learn that of the 50 states, South Dakota placed at the very top. We were number one overall.”
Because of that success, Gilbertson is encouraging further expansion of diversion programs…

“A year in the penitentiary cost 22-thousand dollars a year per person. A year in a drug court or DUI court cost a fraction of that; about eight-thousand a year. That cost has remained constant over previous years. But this bargain is not free. To maintain the high quality counseling and treatment services that are incurred for a successful treatment I’m requesting an additional 650-thousand dollars. It will allow a statewide network of drug courts and alcohol courts to continue to work successfully.”
Gilbertson says the states Unified Judicial System is exploring the use of mental tele-health services to remotely make mental health services available to rural law enforcement…

“It can help criminal defense attorneys talking with clients; it could assist judges in providing better judicial proceedings and sentences; it could provide Court Services Officers with the tools to better supervise and rehabilitate probationers with mental health issues; it could, in limited cases, also assist prosecutors. This is extremely important to everybody as more people are placed on probation in this state instead of the penitentiary.”
Gilbertson also talked about the expansion of programs to bring lawyers to rural parts of South Dakota, making sure high-quality students are graduating from the University Of South Dakota Law School and the expansion during his time as Chief Justice of rules to bring expanded electronic coverage of circuit court proceedings to the media.