Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

January 19, 2014

Death Penalty in South Dakota

South Dakota is one of the 32 states with capital punishment. Since 1887, eighteen people have been executed in South Dakota/Dakota Territory. Three of the executions have occurred since 1976. The sentence is determined by a jury with the execution method being lethal injection. The governor has sole authority to grant reprieve. First-degree murder with 1 of 10 aggravating circumstances is the capital crime punishable by the death penalty in SD.

2014 Legislative Session
Rep. Steve Hickey ,R-Sioux Falls, ask the Legislature to repeal the death penalty in HB1183. His bill would have applied to future cases, but it was killed on a 6-7 committee vote. In the past, the South Dakota Legislature has typically supported the death penalty.

Death Row
The Jameson Annex of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls is currently populated by three males. Females sentenced to death would be held at the South Dakota Women’s Prison.



Territorial Legislative Assembly passes a law allowing for punishment by hanging


SD entered the Union with capital punishment


Death penalties are carried out by hanging


Death penalty is temporarily abolished


Death penalty is reinstated with the method of electrocution


SD abolishes the death penalty based on Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia


Governor Bill Janklow signs into law a bill reinstating capital punishment


SD law is changed to provide death by lethal injection

Feb 21, 2014

Death penalty repeal fails to leave committee

Links and Resources


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