South Dakota - Recording Interrogations Compendium

Information on the policy and history of recording custodial interrogations in South Dakota.

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South Dakota has no statute or court rule requiring recording of custodial interrogations.

A South Dakota Case

State v. Diaz, 847 N.W.2d 144, 154-65 (S.D. 2014): The trial court in Maricela Diaz’s murder case granted her motion to suppress statements she made to police officers. The State appealed, arguing that Diaz knowingly and intelligently waived her Miranda rights prior to her confession. The Supreme Court of South Dakota reviewed an electronic recording of Diaz’s interview with police officers and, based on its analysis of that recording, reversed the trial court decision and held that Diaz’s confession was knowing and intelligent.

Justice Konenkamp dissented in Diaz, writing (847 N.W.2d 144, 170–71):

We know that juveniles ‘may lack the sophistication, knowledge, or maturity to understand the ramifications of an admission.’ In re J.M.J., 2007 S.D. 1, ¶ 14, 726 N.W.2d 621, 627–28. Indeed, our laws prohibit children from making potentially life-changing decisions they are not yet ready to make in such areas as contract formation, blood donation, school attendance, marriage, and alcohol consumption. See SDCL 26–2–1 (contract formation); SDCL 26–2–7 (blood donation); SDCL 13–27–1 (school attendance); SDCL 25–1–9 (marriage); SDCL 35–9–1, –2.3 (alcohol consumption). The United States Supreme Court has consistently recognized that ‘[t]he law has historically reflected the same assumption that children characteristically lack the capacity to exercise mature judgment and possess only an incomplete ability to understand the world around them.’ 131 S.Ct. at 2403. These concepts underlie the entire basis for our separate juvenile court system. Yet the ‘special care’ we are required to take in scrutinizing juvenile cases will remain illusory today. See Gallegos 370 U.S. at 53, 82 S.Ct. at 1212.

This decision will surely influence how law enforcement officers handle children in the future. Trickery and deception may perhaps have their place in seeking admissions from adult suspects, but not with children. Horse, 2002 S.D. 47, ¶ 16, 644 N.W.2d at 220. Will South Dakota no longer recognize the difference? In the words of the trial court, ‘[i]t is difficult to identify any meaningful way in which investigators treated [this fifteen-year-old] differently from an adult....’ These same words can be echoed here as well: it is difficult to identify any meaningful way in which our Court treats this child differently from an adult.

Judicial decision making is a profoundly human undertaking. And being human, our decisions often tread on the edge of uncertainty. We bear a moral obligation, therefore, to never forget that we may be mistaken. That is why we afford, especially with children, ‘every reasonable presumption against waiver’ of constitutional rights. See Brewer v. Williams, 430 U.S. 387, 404, 97 S.Ct. 1232, 1242, 51 L.Ed.2d 424 (1977). These presumptions were not followed here; they were merely swept aside, and I dissent.


Departments we have identified that presently record:

Aberedeen Lincoln CS Sioux Falls
Belle Fourche Minnehaha CS State Div. Criminal Inv.
Brandon Mitchell State Univ.
Brookings Pierre Vermillion
Brown CS Rapid City Yaukton
Clay CS    

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