In response to the outbreak of the respiratory disease COVID-19 in South Dakota and
bordering states, the Court on March 17, 2020, entered Standing Order 20-03, cancelling jury and
grand jury proceedings through April 24, 2020. The COVID-19 virus then spread in the United States
and within the State of South Dakota, and the South Dakota Governor's Office projected that the
number of COVID-19 infections in South Dakota would not crest until sometime in June 2020.
After considering current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and after consulting
with representatives of numerous agencies, including but not limited to the Federal Public Defender's Office,
the United States Attorney's Office, the United States Probation Office, and the United States Marshals Service,
the Court entered a First Amended Standing Order 20-03 on
April 8, 2020, that extended cancellation of jury trials and restrictions on grand jury proceedings through July 6, 2020.
In late May, this Court entered a Second Amended Standing Order 20-03
permitting grand jury proceedings to resume in Pierre in June. Since July 6, 2020, this Court has
successfully conducted jury trials in certain divisions of the District of South Dakota, as well
as allowed grand juries to convene outside of Pierre. However, COVID-19 continues to spread in
the state in a way making it hard to predict whether jury trials can be safely conducted
in all divisions of the District of South Dakota or when or if the Court will again need to cancel
jury trials. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED:
1. The District of South Dakota has resumed jury trials as of July 6, 2020. However, if a
judge is convinced that, due to COVID-19 spread in a particular division, there is an in bility to
safely call and retain an adequate cross-section of jurors, the judge may make a finding that the
ends of justice served by continuing criminal jury trials outweigh the best interests of the public
and any defendant's right to a speedy trial, and may exclude the periods of delay occasioned by
such a continuance under the Speedy Trial Act pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A).
2. Non-jury proceedings, such as bench trials and hearings, may proceed as scheduled in the
discretion of the presiding judge. The parties are encouraged to consider participation by
telephone or video conferencing when that option is available. Standing Order 20-05 and
the CARES Act authorize conduct of certain hearings in criminal cases by videoconference
or by telephone if videoconference is unavailable.
3. Grand jury proceedings in the District of South Dakota may resume. During grand jury
proceedings , all people in the courtroom must wear masks until and unless behind a plexiglass
enclosure. The 30-day time period for filing an indictment or an information is hereby tolled as
to each defendant charged by criminal complaint during the time period between March 17,
2020, and the return of an indictment, which in no event shall be later than within 30 days of
July 6, 2020, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161(b) and 3161(h)(7)(A). For reasons described on the
Second Amended Standing Order 20-03, the Court finds that the ends of justice served by taking this
action outweigh the best interests of the public and any defendant' s right to a speedy trial, and
therefore the Court excludes that time period under the Speedy Trial Act pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A).
4. All deadlines established in civil cases will remain in place, although the Court will
be receptive to motions from the parties to enlarge deadlines in civil cases due to disruption
caused by social distancing requirements and travel restrictions. Parties are encouraged
to consider conducting discovery through means that avoid unnecessary travel or personal contact,
such as by telephone or video conferencing, and to consult and seek to agree, if possible, on any
enlargement of civil case deadlines. Any dispute over whether discovery can be
effectively accomplished consistent with applicable public health guidelines may be submitted to
the Court by motion.
5. Except as set forth herein, Court business will proceed as usual to the extent possible
consistent with public health guidelines.