Gag orders - KOTA Territory News

Gag orders

Gary Jensen
Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald

Does a Circuit Court judge in South Dakota have the legal authority to issue a "gag order" in a civil case preventing the attorneys from talking outside the courtroom about the case?

Gag orders in criminal cases are usually designed to protect a defendant's right to a fair trial by an impartial jury.  Theoretically, it's possible that a gag order may be appropriate for the same reason in a civil jury trial, though it's unlikely.  It's even more unlikely when the civil case is being tried to the court, not a jury.

Issuing a "gag order" in a civil case is clearly an exception, not the rule.  The law generally allows attorneys to comment publicly about the civil case they are trying – whether they should is another question.

E-mail Gary is intended as general information on legal issues affecting us all.  This information should not be relied upon in any particular case and should never be used in lieu of consulting with an attorney.

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