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Gordon Swanson Appointed 1st Circuit Magistrate Judge

01/09/2013

 

 1st Judicial Circuit

 State of South Dakota

Press Release

 

Judge Steven Jensen of Elk Point, the Presiding Judge of the First Judicial Circuit, has announced that Gordon Swanson has been appointed as a new Magistrate Judge of the First Judicial Circuit, filling the seat being vacated by Magistrate Judge Pat Kiner, who is retiring effective March 8, 2013. The South Dakota Supreme Court approved the appointment of Attorney Swanson on December 26, 2012. The appointment will be effective March 11, 2013.

 

Swanson grew up on a farm near Dell Rapids, went to high school at Brandon Valley, and received his undergraduate degree from SDSU in Brookings. He served in the United States Army for 3 years, then went on to Law School at USD, graduating in 1992 with Sterling Honors. He spent two years as the Law Clerk for Senior United States District Judge Andrew Bogue in Rapid City, then moved on to a private law practice in Sturgis with the firm of Hansen, Hubbard & Swanson. He went on to become the Meade County State’s Attorney until moving to Sioux Falls in 2003 to become the Chief Deputy State’s Attorney for Minnehaha County. Swanson and his wife Lesli have 3 college-age children, one attends the USD School of Law, one the USD Education School, and the other the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has been active in local theater, volunteer firefighting, church councils, and other non-profit boards, in addition to presenting classes on legal issues to attorneys, county officers, and nonprofit agencies.

 

Attorney Swanson’s office will be in Mitchell at the Davison County Courthouse. He will primarily be handling cases in Davison, Brule, Buffalo, Charles Mix, McCook, and Turner counties, but may handle cases throughout the First Circuit as assigned by the Presiding Judge. He will begin hearing cases in March of 2013.

 

Under South Dakota law, magistrate judges are required to be law school graduates.  They are authorized to handle preliminary hearings for felony cases, all criminal misdemeanor cases, small claims cases, and civil cases under $12,000. They are appointed by the presiding judge of each circuit.

 

Attorney Swanson will officially take the oath of office on March 11, 2013. A swearing-in ceremony and reception will be held for him in the 3rd Floor Courtroom of the Davison County Courthouse at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 15th, 2013. The public is invited to attend.

 

The First Judicial Circuit consists of 14 counties in the southeastern corner of the state.  It includes Aurora, Bon Homme, Brule, Buffalo, Charles Mix, Clay, Davison, Douglas, Hanson, Hutchinson, McCook, Turner, Yankton, and Union counties.

 

There are presently six Circuit Judges and two Magistrate Judges assigned to the First Circuit. They are Presiding Circuit Judge Steven Jensen, stationed in Elk Point; Circuit Judge Glen Eng and Circuit Judge Cheryle Gering, stationed in Yankton; Circuit Judge Bruce Anderson, stationed in Lake Andes; Circuit Judge Tim Bjorkman, stationed in Salem; Circuit Judge Patrick Smith, stationed in Mitchell; and Magistrate Judge Tami Bern, who is stationed in Vermillion. 

 

In fiscal year 2012, these eight judges handled over 7,600 criminal cases and over 9,300 civil cases in the First Circuit.

 

 





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