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SD – COURTS – Judges won’t appear in Custer County court after commission allows guns in the courthouse, proposed order says

The presiding judge of the 7th Judicial Circuit has written a proposed order saying judges won’t appear in Custer County court and trials will take place in Rapid City after the Custer County Commission passed an ordinance allowing guns inside the courthouse. “Due to the action by the Custer County Commission in adopting ordinance 2020-18, which allows for firearms to be carried in the courthouse, the Custer County Courthouse is currently unsuitable and insufficient due to safety concerns,” Judge Craig Pfeifle wrote in his proposed order. The commission adopted the ordinance after meeting with Pfeifle and Judge Matt Brown who expressed their opposition and warnings from the Custer County state’s attorney that allowing guns in the courthouse is a safety risk, legal liability and financial burden. The proposed order says Custer County hearings will be overseen by a judge appearing remotely through audio or video feeds or take place at the Pennington County Courthouse in Rapid City. All trials will be comprised of Custer County jurors but take place in Rapid City. It’s unclear if lawyers and the public — not just judges — can take advantage of the video and audio feeds if they are concerned for their safety.   [full article]

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