A sunrise silhouette of the entrance to the Wounded Knee Massacre memorial in South Dakota. (Getty Images)

Wounded Knee Massacre monument vandalized, damaged

BY: - September 20, 2023

A monument erected over a century ago to honor tribal leaders killed in the Wounded Knee Massacre was broken and vandalized earlier this month on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A decorative element resembling an urn was pulled off the top of the monument, despite being held in place by a pin or rod. The element […]

The minimum security center of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, pictured on Feb. 16, 2023. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

State officials: Specialty parole unit helps trim fugitive parolee numbers in half

BY: - September 11, 2023

An effort by state and local agencies to capture fugitives from parole has nearly halved the number of such “absconders” tracked by the South Dakota Department of Corrections. The Absconder Apprehension Unit was formed last December and began its work in January, around six months after the launch of a collaborative group called Safe South […]

A forensic analyst removes a pair of underwear from an evidence bag for testing in a sexual assault case in the biology lab at the Houston Forensic Science Center in Houston. Texas is among at least 40 states and the District of Columbia that have implemented or committed to establishing a rape kit tracking system, according to the End the Backlog website run by the nonprofit Joyful Heart Foundation. (Pat Sullivan/The Associated Press)

Sexual assault survivors can now track rape kits in most states, but not SD

BY: - September 10, 2023

It can take hours for a sexual assault victim to undergo the multiple swabs, hair samples, blood and urine collections, and other invasive procedures of a sexual assault examination. And then it can take months, sometimes years, for investigators to process that evidence kit. But now, responding to demands from survivors and their advocates, more […]

The Pennington County Courthouse and jail complex in Rapid City, in June 2023. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Rapid City prosecutors inch toward decision in year-old homicide of transgender woman

BY: - September 7, 2023

Prosecutors in Rapid City have connected with the family of Acey Morrison, a transgender Native American woman shot to death more than a year ago by a man who says he shot her in self-defense. Pennington County State’s Attorney Lara Roetzel met with Morrison’s family to discuss the case this week, spokeswoman Katy Urban told […]

Blurred hands are typing on a laptop computer in the dark with illuminated keyboard and illegible mystic program code visible on the screen.

Jackley calls for study and new laws to protect children from AI exploitation

BY: - September 5, 2023

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley and colleagues from 53 states and territories are asking congressional leaders to create an expert panel on how artificial intelligence is to used to exploit children. “Artificial intelligence has its benefits, but there is also potential for serious harm that we are now experiencing with several investigations in South […]

The South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, as seen on Jan. 9, 2023. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Former prison employee’s conviction is a rare occurrence in South Dakota

BY: - September 2, 2023

A 42-year old former correctional officer who pressed his thumb into the neck of a strapped-down, mentally ill prison inmate was convicted by a jury of simple assault against an inmate last month. Cases like those against Joshua S. Westenkirchner, of Harrisburg, are rare in South Dakota. Few correctional officers are charged criminally for assaulting […]

Booking photos from the Fulton County conspiracy case charging Donald Trump and allies with trying to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. Top row, from left Jeffrey Clark, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Michael Roman, Ray Smith, David Shafer, Sen. Shawn Still. Center row, from left, Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, John Eastman, Kenneth Chesebro. Bottom row from left, Robert Cheeley, Harrison Floyd, Stephen Lee, Scott Hall, Misty Hampton, Cathleen Latham, Trevian Kutti. (Photos from Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

Trump pleads not guilty, waives arraignment in Georgia 2020 election interference case

BY: - August 31, 2023

Former President Donald Trump entered a not guilty plea on Thursday in Fulton County Superior Court on 13 felony counts that charge him with racketeering for attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. In the court filing on Thursday, Trump also voluntarily waived his right to an arraignment hearing scheduled for Wednesday in […]

South Dakota Chief Justice Steven Jensen gestures as he participates in oral arguments with other state Supreme Court justices on March 23, 2023, in Brookings. (David Bordewyk/South Dakota Newspaper Association)

Drug dealer asks Supreme Court to overturn conviction tied to former roommate’s testimony

BY: - August 31, 2023

A failure to inform jurors about a key witness’ immunity from prosecution unfairly tainted a drug dealer’s chance for a fair trial, his defense attorney told the South Dakota Supreme Court on Thursday in Pierre.  A jury found Todd W. Stevens, of Brookings, guilty of six drug-related counts at his trial one year ago. Stevens […]

The South Dakota Supreme Court chamber at the state Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Former lawyer with felony conviction asks Supreme Court for reinstatement

BY: - August 30, 2023

A Rapid City attorney who admitted to felony tax evasion in 2017 wants the South Dakota Supreme Court to reinstate him as a member of the State Bar. Kenneth Orrock was Bennett County state’s attorney before being charged in federal court for failing to collect and remit payroll taxes from 2011 through 2015. The charges […]

The entrance to the South Dakota Supreme Court at the state Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Convicted rapist asks state Supreme Court for a new trial over alleged misconduct

BY: - August 30, 2023

A Spearfish man found guilty of raping an underage girl wants the South Dakota Supreme Court to grant him a new trial over what his lawyer calls police and prosecutorial misconduct. Scott Rudloff, 45, was convicted of three counts of first-degree rape against an 11-year-old girl and given 30 years on each count. Rudloff maintained […]

Former President Donald Trump boards his plane at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, following an arraignment in Washington, D.C., federal court on August 3, 2023. Trump pleaded not guilty to four felony criminal charges during his arraignment after being indicted for his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Judge sets March trial date in Trump federal election interference case

BY: - August 28, 2023

WASHINGTON — The federal trial in the case accusing former President Donald Trump of knowingly lying about the 2020 presidential election results and trying to overturn them will begin in March, a federal judge said Monday. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who waived Trump’s appearance for the first hearing, scheduled jury selection to begin March […]

Former President Donald Trump’s mugshot from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

Trump booked at Georgia jail on 13 charges related to 2020 election

BY: , and - August 24, 2023

This story was updated at 11 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.  ATLANTA — Former President Donald Trump was booked and quickly released at the Fulton County Jail Thursday evening during a trip from New Jersey to Atlanta that played out on primetime TV and capped a drama-filled day outside the facility. Trump’s sprawling motorcade arrived […]