Papers returned to circuit court.
The coroner shall then return to the circuit court
the inquisition, the written evidence, and a list of the witnesses who testified to material matters.
Forms to be promulgated--Publication--Effect of forms.
The attorney general shall
promulgate forms, pursuant to chapter 1-26, implementing this chapter. The code commission shall
publish such forms as an appendix to this chapter when it publishes the pocket parts or revised
volumes of the South Dakota Codified Laws. Such forms shall be illustrative and not mandatory.
Source: SL 1978, ch 171, § 14.
23-14-18 Deaths to be investigated by coroner.
Deaths to be investigated by coroner.
The county coroner shall investigate any
human death if a determination of the cause and manner of death is in the public interest. Nothing
in the provisions of this section, § 23-14-9.1, 23-14-19, 23-14-20, 34-26-2, 34-26-5, or 34-26-14
supersedes the obligation of any county sheriff to pursue and apprehend all felons pursuant to § 7-12-1. Deaths which are in the public interest, without limitation, are:
All deaths by unnatural means or if there is a suspicion of unnatural means, including all
deaths of accidental, homicidal, suicidal, and undetermined manner, regardless of
suspected criminal involvement in the death;
All deaths where the identity of the victim is unknown or the body is unclaimed;
All deaths of inmates of any state, county, or municipally operated correctional facility,
mental institution, or special school;
All deaths believed to represent a public health hazard;
At the discretion of the coroner, all deaths of children under two years of age resulting
from an unknown cause or if the circumstances surrounding the death indicate that sudden
infant death syndrome may be the cause of death; and
All natural deaths if the decedent is not under the care of a physician, physician's assistant,
or nurse practitioner or if the decedent's physician, physician's assistant, or nurse
practitioner does not feel qualified to sign the death certificate. However, the lack of an
attending physician may not be construed to require an investigation or autopsy solely
because the decedent was under treatment by prayer or spiritual means alone in
accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious
SL 1985, ch 191, § 1; SL 1990, ch 170, § 2; SL 1991, ch 198, § 1.
23-14-18.1 Designation of special death investigators.
Designation of special death investigators.
The secretary of health may designate
physicians, physician's assistants, or nurse practitioners with competency in the field of forensic
pathology as special death investigators.
Source: SL 1989, ch 204, § 1; SL 1991, ch 198, § 2.
23-14-18.2 Jurisdiction and duties of special death investigators.
Jurisdiction and duties of special death investigators.
At the request of a county
coroner having jurisdiction over a dead body, or at the request of a state's attorney in deaths which
may have occurred by unlawful means, the special death investigator may directly assume
jurisdiction over any dead body when determination of the cause and manner of death may be in the
public interest, with the same duties and responsibilities as a county coroner. With the concurrence
of the county coroner, a special death investigator may issue subpoenas for witnesses or records
pertaining to deaths investigated pursuant to § 23-14-18.
Source: SL 1989, ch 204, § 2; SL 1998, ch 145, § 2.
23-14-18.3 Investigation of uncertified deaths.
Investigation of uncertified deaths.
The secretary of health may direct a special
death investigator to investigate and certify deaths remaining uncertified for more than three months
after the death occurred or was reported.
Source: SL 1989, ch 204, § 3.
23-14-18.4 Compensation of special death investigators.
Compensation of special death investigators.
The special death investigator shall
be compensated only by the agency requesting his services on a direct fee-for-service basis.
Source: SL 1989, ch 204, § 4.
23-14-19 Joint custody of dead bodies and effects--Movement prohibited--Violation as misdemeanor.
Joint custody of dead bodies and effects--Movement prohibited--Violation as
As to any death, the cause and manner of which is in the public interest, the county
coroner and law enforcement agency exercising investigative control over such death shall jointly
take charge of and exercise complete control over all dead bodies and all effects affixed thereto to
determine the physiological cause of death. The investigating law enforcement officers, including
the state's attorney or attorney general shall have control over all other elements of evidence
demonstrating a potential criminal circumstance of death. No dead body subject to control by the
coroner having investigative control may be moved from the scene of death without the coroner's
permission unless the body directly obstructs a public transportation right-of-way or poses an
immediate health hazard. No dead body subject to coroner control under this section may be
embalmed without the express authority of the investigating coroner. A violation of this section is
a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Source: SL 1985, ch 191, § 2.
23-14-20 Certificate prepared by coroner.
Certificate prepared by coroner.
The county coroner shall prepare a medical
certificate in conformance with chapter 34-25 for all deaths over which he assumes jurisdiction.
Source: SL 1985, ch 191, § 3.
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