Friday, May 7, 2010
The South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed a trial court's permanent injunction prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law by a graduate of the University of South Dakota School of Law3 who has never been admitted to practice in South Dakota. The enjoined graduate had contacted represented criminal defendants, which resulted in complaints from the public defender. The accused also had attempted to participate in a child abuse case, calling herself an "independent investigator and advocate." She defended her conduct by stating that she had "merely assisted individuals whose attorneys had failed them. "There were also a number of other incidents that the trial court found amounted to the unauthorized practice of law.
The court also rejected a number of challenges to the trial court's order, including that a case involving a defendant named Fast Horse was referred to as the Fast Wolf case. The court found that this error created no valid appeal issue.
The court also found that a provision of the injunction that prohibited the accused from contacting represented defendants without permission of counsel did not violate her rights of association.
A news report from last year in the Rapid City Journal provides additional details about the subject of the injunction. (Mike Frisch)