The South Dakota Supreme Court says a circuit judge was wrong to restrict public access to records and courtroom proceedings in a trial dealing with a financial dispute involving owners of a popular Black Hills tourist attraction.
Three news organizations had asked the high court to strike down rulings by Circuit Judge John Delaney of Rapid City, who presided in a trial last year involving Bear Country USA. The trial was to determine the fair value of the family owned business so some family members could buy out others.
The Supreme Court says Delaney did not have authority to issue a gag order on those taking part in the trial. The justices also say the trial judge was wrong to close some of the trial proceedings to the public.