I live in Sioux Falls and need to obtain the signature of a Minnehaha County judge, but there is no judge available. What can I do?

Under South Dakota law, when an attorney or litigant is in immediate need of a judicial signature and no appropriate circuit judge or magistrate judge is present or available, the signature may be acquired in the following manner: (1) the attorney or litigant may telephonically contact a circuit judge or magistrate judge who has jurisdiction and relate to such judge the verbatim contents of the document requiring signature. If the judge approves the document, the judge shall telephonically contact the clerk of courts and authorize that official to sign the document on his behalf; or (2) the attorney or litigant may contact the clerk of courts who shall then attempt to contact an authorizing judge and read the proposed document verbatim to ascertain whether such judge will authorize the clerk to sign for him. The document shall clearly show the signing of the signature by the authorized official. Although a signature acquired by this procedure shall have the same force and effect as if the judge had signed personally, a copy shall be forwarded to the authorizing judge for co-signing. The co-signed document shall be filed with the clerk of courts. The authorizing judge shall also endorse on the co-signed copy the reasons for authorizing the foregoing procedure.

Brooke Swier Schloss
Estate Planning & Family Law Attorney