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Pfuhl v. Pfuhl

Supreme Court of South Dakota

April 30, 2014

AMANDA LYNN PFUHL, Petitioner,
v.
JASON LEROY PFUHL, Respondent. MINNEHAHA COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of South Dakota, Appellant,
v.
THE HONORABLE DOUGLAS E. HOFFMAN, Circuit Court Judge, Appellee, and TRESSA ZAHRBOCK KOOL, Attorney for minors J.P., J.P., M.P. and D.L

Considered on Briefs: February 18, 2014.

As Corrected July 16, 2014.

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT MINNEHAHA COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE DOUGLAS E. HOFFMAN, Judge.

Reversed.

AARON F. MCGOWAN, Minnehaha County States Attorney, Minnehaha County State's, Attorney's Office, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; KERSTEN A. KAPPMEYER, Deputy State's Attorney, Minnehaha County State's, Attorney's Office, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Attorneys for appellant.

ROBERT B. ANDERSON, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, LLP, Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for appellee.

SEVERSON, Justice. GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and KONENKAMP and ZINTER, Justices, and ENG, Circuit Court Judge, concur. ENG, Circuit Court Judge, sitting for WILBUR, Justice, disqualified.

OPINION

Page 779

SEVERSON, Justice

[¶1] Amanda Pfuhl obtained a temporary protection order against her husband (Jason) on November 16, 2012, alleging in part that he physically or sexually assaulted two of their minor children three years before the petition, initiated phone contact through a third-party relative, threw a full soda can at her that damaged her car in 2010, and threw a phone that broke a window in their home in 2008. At a hearing on December 11, 2012, on the petition in circuit court, Amanda reiterated her claim that Jason might have abused two of their children three years before. Previously, the Department of Social Services investigated the allegations but found no evidence of child abuse, and law enforcement officials found no basis to pursue charges against Jason.

[¶2] At the hearing's conclusion, Judge Douglas Hoffman continued the protection order until January 17, 2013, and appointed counsel (Tressa Zarhbock Kool) for the children by order filed on January 8, 2013.[1] The matter was again heard on January 17, 2013, and on March 1, 2013, when Judge Susan Sabers dismissed the protection order for failure to provide sufficient evidence.

[¶3] On May 15, 2013, Kool submitted a voucher to Judge Hoffman for costs related to her appointment. On May 20, 2013, he ordered that Minnehaha County (Minnehaha) pay Kool $1,094.40. Minnehaha received the order on May 21, 2013, and timely filed a notice of appeal on June 19, 2013, arguing Judge Hoffman lacked statutory authority to appoint counsel and to order it to pay appointed counsel's costs. We reverse.

Standard of Review

[¶4] This issue involves statutory interpretation and construction, which is a question of law reviewed de novo. In re Guardianship of S.M.N., 2010 S.D. 31, ...


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