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A new magistrate judge appointed to the state 7th Circuit Court is no stranger to the area or the courthouse in Rapid City. 

Sarah Morrison, 40, is a Stevens High School graduate who went on to work as a prosecutor in the Pennington County State's Attorney Office. She was sworn in as a judge on Jan. 4.

"I am excited to continue to serve my community in this new capacity," Morrison said in an email. She said people who appear in her court should expect to be treated "fairly, and with dignity and respect."

Morrison was appointed by presiding judge Craig Pfeifle and replaces Bernie Schuchmann, who retired after working as a magistrate judge since 2014. 

Magistrate judges preside over small-claims cases, civil actions and misdemeanor trials as well as initial court appearances for more-serious crimes.

After graduating from Stevens, Morrison said, she earned a bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University, where she majored in communication studies and minored in American political behavior. She earned her law degree from the University of Minnesota. 

Before being appointed as a judge, Morrison worked in the state attorney's office, most recently as a juvenile prosecutor. 

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This story has been updated to provide the correct swearing in date for Magistrate Judge Sarah Morrison. 

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Criminal Justice Reporter