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Gov. Daugaard To Appoint Judge Steven R. Jensen To South Dakota Supreme Court



            Office of Gov. Dennis Daugaard

500 E. Capitol Ave.

Pierre, S.D. 57501






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CONTACT:  Tony Venhuizen or Kelsey Pritchard at 605-773-3212



Gov. Daugaard To Appoint Judge Steven R. Jensen

To South Dakota Supreme Court


PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today that he will appoint Steven R. Jensen of Dakota Dunes to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Jensen is a circuit court judge and the presiding judge of the First Judicial Circuit.


“Judge Jensen is a leader in our state’s legal community and, with 14 years on the bench, he is widely respected,” said Gov. Daugaard. “As the presiding judge of his circuit, Judge Jensen has led implementation of new approaches such as drug and DUI courts and HOPE 24/7 probation programs. He has been called upon many times to contribute on important state issues, such as the reform of the juvenile justice system and the implementation of new technology in the court system. He will be an excellent justice.” 


Jensen will be the 50th member of the South Dakota Supreme Court. He will succeed Justice Lori S. Wilbur, who retired in June after six years on the Court. Jensen is the Governor’s third Supreme Court appointment, following Justice Wilbur and Justice Janine M. Kern.


“I am truly honored to be appointed by Gov. Daugaard to the South Dakota Supreme Court,” said Judge Jensen. “It is both a tremendous opportunity and responsibility. I look forward to further serving the people of South Dakota in this new role.”


Jensen, 54, is a native of Wakonda. He is a 1985 graduate of Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and earned his law degree from the University of South Dakota in 1988.


After law school, Jensen worked as a law clerk for Justice Richard W. Sabers of the South Dakota Supreme Court, and then entered private practice in Dakota Dunes and in Sioux City, Iowa. 


In 2003, Governor Mike Rounds appointed Jensen as a circuit judge in the First Judicial Circuit. He was re-elected without opposition in 2006 and 2014, and has sat several times as a temporary justice with the Supreme Court. Jensen was named the circuit’s presiding judge in 2011.


Jensen is the chair of the Unified Judicial System’s Presiding Judges Council and a past president of the South Dakota Judges Association. He is the chair of the UJS Sanctioning Grid Oversight Committee, and is a member of the Juvenile Justice Public Safety Improvement Act Oversight Council, the Juvenile Services Council, and the UJS Technology Council. He is a past member of the South Dakota Judicial Ethics Committee.


Jensen and his wife, Sue, have three children.


Like Justice Wilbur, Jensen will represent the state’s Fourth Supreme Court District, which is comprised of Aurora, Bon Homme, Clay, Charles Mix, Davison, Douglas, Gregory, Hanson, Hutchinson, Lincoln, McCook, Turner, Union and Yankton counties.




* A photo of Judge Jensen is attached.