South Dakota Chief Justice wants pay raises for judges

January 13, 2021 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Chief Justice Steven R. Jensen used his first State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday to argue for higher pay for judges in the state’s court system.

Jensen took over the helm this month after former Chief Justice David Gilbertson retired from a 20-year tenure at the top. Jensen’s speech focused on promoting court system employees who have continued to perform difficult work, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Most of the work of our courts in South Dakota is done without spectators, fanfare or notice,” Jensen said.


He told lawmakers that the court system has struggled to recruit attorneys to transition to judges because the pay is among the worst in the nation. He also raised concerns about security in courtrooms, saying that courts across the state rely on a “reactive, rather than proactive” approach to security.

Jensen said the court system is undergoing a review of security protocols. He also requested lawmakers to give him the budget to hire someone to oversee security.