In gun news, while deferring action on House Bill 1206, the controversial concealed-weapons-on-campus bill, the South Dakota House rejected House Bill 1183, which would have allowed concealed weapons in the State Capitol.

During floor debate on HB 1183, Rep. Lana Greenfield (R-2/Doland) told a startling story that she said crystallized her feelings on guns and this bill. She said that, back in the 1970s, when she had taken a new teaching job, a student told her that, during a family visit to the Capitol one summer Sunday, he and his family had been taken captive by a man with a knife. She said a former Capitol employee later told her he remembered that incident.

It appears Rep. Greenfield was referring to this 1975 incident:

On October 26, 1975, the Glenn Arneson family of Hayti, South Dakota, visited the State Capitol at Pierre. While touring the Capitol Building, Mr. and Mrs. Arneson and their youngest child were confronted in an open hallway on the fourth floor by petitioner [Romeo Tony Eaglehorse] and another man, Robert Stein. After asking the Arnesons if there were any other people in the building, petitioner pulled a knife and demanded money from them. Mr. Arneson complied, giving him $20.00. Petitioner then demanded that the Arnesons gather the rest of their family, including two other children who had run ahead, and forced them at knife point to a secluded room on fourth floor, blocking the only exit from that room. Petitioner again demanded money, ordering the Arnesons to place all their money on a table. Petitioner then proceeded to torment the members of the family, starting with the youngest child, an eight-year-old girl. He picked her up by the hair, held the knife to her throat, and demanded that she give him her money. After demanding photos of the family, petitioner threatened to kill them if they ever informed the authorities of what had happened. Petitioner continued to torment the family by holding the knife to Mr. Arneson's *330 neck and asking the rest of the family if they would like to watch him die. Petitioner told the Arnesons that he, petitioner, was a killer, and forced the parents to drink vodka from a bottle with him. He also threatened to cut the eight-year-old girl's eyes out with his knife. After leaving for a few minutes, petitioner returned and grabbed Mrs. Arneson. At this time Mr. Arneson was able to strike petitioner with the vodka bottle, allowing the family to run to safety. All told, the Arnesons were held in the room at knife point for from forty-five minutes to an hour after Mr. Arneson first gave petitioner the $20.00 in the hallway [Eaglehorse v. South Dakota, 1979].

Now Rep. Greenfield didn't connect the dots for us. She didn't explain how this incident of crime 40 years ago justifies allowing us to walk around our Temple of Democracy and Civilization with firearms tucked in our britches. The point of her anecdote seemed to be simply to arouse fear.

One violent crime forty years ago. Hmmm... sounds to me as if the Capitol Building is one of the safest places a person could be.

But let's look at the incident Rep. Greenfield cited in the context of the bill she was advocating. The Arnesons were on a family visit. They likely did not anticipate trouble. There is no indication that Mr. Arneson or his wife held concealed weapons permits or had said on their way into the building, "There might be danger here, but the law says we have to leave our guns in the car."

Had HB 1183 been in effect, would the Arnesons have been armed? Had they been concealedly armed (which is what HB 1183 envisions), would Eaglehorse not have pulled that knife? When Eaglehorse pulled the knife, would Mr. or Mrs. Arneson have been able to execute a quick draw before Eaglehorse could do harm?

And would the presence of a gun have produced any different result from what really happened: Mr. Arneson grabs the vodka bottle, whacks the bad guy, and gets his family out to safety. No one but the bad guy is hurt, and the authorities arrest Eaglehorse and Stein, without shooting anyone.

Your story is plenty scary, Rep. Greenfield, but you failed to explain how it logically defends the policy position you advocated. Fortunately, this time, faulty logic and faulty gun policy did not prevail in the Legislature.

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A bill inspired by this blog's reporting has received unanimous approval from both chambers of the South Dakota Legislature. Senate Bill 18 makes conducting a fake raffle a crime prosecutable under South Dakota's deceptive trade practices statute. In five votes—Senate Commerce and Energy, full Senate, House Judiciary, full House, and Senate again to concur in amendment—not one voice rose in opposition to this bill, because every sane person recognizes that selling tickets for a raffle, then not holding the raffle and not refunding ticketholders ought to be a crime.

Such a crime is apparently rare in South Dakota. In testimony to Senate Commerce and Energy and House Judiciary, Attorney General Marty Jackley said that since 2009, the Division of Consumer Protection has fielded 25 complaints about raffles. Seven of those complaints came from three raffles that cheated no one but erred on technicalities:

  1. Backyard Motorcycles LLC sold tickets for a raffle to benefit Children's Miracle Network, but SDCL 22-25-25 does not allow for-profit entities to conduct raffles.
  2. Full Throttle Saloon sold tickets for a raffle in violation of the same for-profit-entity restriction and failed to register its raffle with the Secretary of State.
  3. Black Hills Youth Football did not register and sold tickets outside of its jurisdiction.

AG Jackley said all three of those errant rafflers have refunded ticketholders, are refunding, or are working with the AG's office to make things right.

The remaining eighteen complaints all come from the same raffle: Preventive Health Strategies' fake raffle of land in Moody County, promoted in late 2012 and 2013 by U.S. Senate-candidacy-bound Annette Bosworth and her husband Chad Haber. PHS sold raffle tickets for $1,000 apiece but never held a drawing, never awarded the prize (AG Jackley confirmed the Moody County land has not changed hands) and never offered refunds. Five months after this blog broke the story of this fake raffle in November 2013, and after Bosworth and Haber attempted to cover their scam by publicly framing former employees, the Attorney General managed to shake five $1000 refunds out of PHS.

However, in his testimony to the Legislature, AG Jackley said the remaining thirteen complaints against PHS remain unresolved. The Attorney General used the present perfect progressive, saying his people "have been trying to work with the owners," suggesting that the AG's effort to get Bosworth to cough up the $13,000 they swindled from the remaining complaining ticketholders is not over.

According to Attorney General Jackley, Senate Bill 18 will not be retroactive. The PHS raffle scam will not be subject to prosecution under SB 18. However, AG Jackley told Senate Commerce and Energy chairman Sen. R. Blake Curd (R-12/Sioux Falls) that his office could still bring theft charges if it can prove that PHS had fraudulent intent never to conduct its Moody County raffle.

House Judiciary added an amendment at the request of the Attorney General and State Treasurer Rich Sattgast to remove the 30-day refund requirement and bring Senate Bill 18 in line with the state's other unclaimed property statutes. That amendment allows the AG to pursue bogus raffle claims, place retrieved funds in the unclaimed property fund, and let the Treasurer handle distributing refunds. The Senate thus had to take up SB 18 again today to concur with that amendment. With today's unanimous vote, the Bosworth-Haber raffle scam bill now heads for the Governor's desk.

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Governor Dennis Daugaard has submitted his juvenile justice reform bill, and the Legislature has quickly jumped on board. Senate Bill 73 has 31 Senate sponsors and 61 House sponsors. When a bill has 92 sponsors out of 105 members, isn't there a mercy rule that says the bill wins and calls the game?

It's easier to list who's not sponsoring SB 73:

Senate:

  • Phil Jensen (R-32/Rapid City)
  • Betty Olson (R-28/Prairie City)
  • David Omdahl (R-11/Sioux Falls)
  • Bill Van Gerpen (R-19/Tyndall)

House:

  • Jim Bolin (R-16/Canton)
  • Shawn Bordeaux (D-26A/Mission)
  • Blaine Campbell (R-35/Rapid City)
  • Dan Kaiser (R-3/Aberdeen)
  • Kevin Killer (D-27/Pine Ridge)
  • Isaac Latterell (R-6/Tea)
  • Sam Marty (R-28B/Prairie City)
  • Lance Russell (R-30/Hot Springs)
  • James Schaefer (R-26B/Kennebec)

Non-sponsorship may mean nothing. It may mean these eleven Republicans and two Democrats got back from lunch later than everyone else the afternoon Daugaard's chief of staff went around rounding up signatures.

But I can't help noticing the ideological bent. Most of the Republicans on this list are from the arch-conservative Mugwump camp, the folks perhaps most inclined to buck the Governor for going liberal... which Todd Epp says the Governor appears to be doing with this reform package. As usual, they don't have the numbers or the people skills to organize an effective resistance to something the boss wants. But maybe we'll hear some fun speeches in opposition from this core group of conservatives.

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Gordon Howie wakes this morning to draft a pardon letter for Annette Bosworth. To excuse the fake Senate candidate and multi-million-dollar fundraiser of 24 counts of felony perjury, Howie does not offer Bosworth any alibi. Instead, he accuses "many"—excuse me, "MANY"—South Dakota politicians of committing the same felony:

Let me tell you that these “serious and deliberate” ”crimes” are COMMONPLACE in South Dakota politics. During the frenzy of political seasons, MANY (and I do mean MANY) South Dakota politicians circulate petitions and sign as circulators when they are not “in the room”. At Lincoln Day dinners across the state, Republicans routinely send their petitions around the room. They do not personally witness each signature, but sign the “oath” that they did. I would venture to say that even our Attorney General may be guilty of this practice. PLEASE, Marty, say it isn’t so… not even ONE? [Gordon Howie, "That Evil Annette Bosworth," The Right Side, 2015.01.05]

Well, at least Gordon got the headline right.

Annette Bosworth broke South Dakota law in order to access the ballot and support her lucrative and exploitative fundraising scheme. The evidence is plain, undisputed, and in fact confirmed by Bosworth herself. Gordon Howie is making a claim without naming names or providing evidence. If Howie wants to expose perjury committed by other candidates, I invite him to do so. And if he can produce evidence of other violations of petition law, I will happily join him in calling for the arrest and prosecution of every one of those felonious candidates.

But not one word he says this morning changes the facts and justification for convicting and punishing Annette Bosworth for her cynical, narcissistic, and, most importantly, documented disregard for the law.

Laxity and corruption in the enforcement of election law does not excuse ongoing laxity and corruption.

109 comments

Attorney General Marty Jackley held a press conference in Sisseton Friday to discuss the details and conclusions of the state's investigation of the November 22, 2014 murder-suicide that shocked Sisseton and briefly put the entire tri-state area on alert. AG Jackley confirmed that Colter Arbach shot and injured Karissa DogEagle and shot and killed Vernon Renville Jr., Angela Adams, Candice Labelle.

DogEagle was Arbach's girlfriend. In the wee hours of November 22, he punched her three times. DogEagle's three friends took her outside to a car. Arbach followed and fired 18 rounds from a .223 rifle and three rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun. Arbach shot Renville, Adams, and Labelle dead at the car; he shot DogEagle several times in the back as she returned to the house. According to this shooting diagram released by the Department of Criminal Investigations, Arbach shot himself in the driveway.

Arbach shooting crime scene diagram, prepared by Special Agent Jeff Kollars, SD Department of Criminal Investigation, 2014.11.22 (click to enlarge).

Arbach shooting crime scene diagram, prepared by Special Agent Jeff Kollars, SD Department of Criminal Investigation, 2014.11.22 (click to enlarge).

The detailed information Attorney General Jackley released Friday raises three questions:

  1. AG Jackley said nothing (at least nothing published) about his office's failure to positively identify the dead shooter at the scene, an error that led law enforcement to unnecessarily alarm the public with warnings that Arbach was on the loose, armed and dangerous.
  2. The crime scene diagram identifies Item #22 at the foot of Arbach's corpse as a "Beretta 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun." The diagram and the Attorney General identify the other weapon, found in the front passenger seat of the white GMC, only as a .223 caliber rifle. Why does the AG specify the shotgun but not the rifle that did most of the rapid-fire killing? Is there a magic word we're not using to avoid grief for our NRA donors?
  3. This crime scene diagram offers significant detail about a crime about which there has been little public doubt. Why has Attorney General Marty Jackley not released a comparable crime scene diagram from his investigation of Richard Benda's death? With conflicting evidence and widespread public doubt about the plausibility of the official finding of suicide, it would behoove the Attorney General all the more to release the crime scene diagram and other details, like those released Friday in the Arbach case, to assure the public that law enforcement has done its job.

Attorney General Jackley's openness in the Arbach shooting is admirable, if incomplete. AG Jackley should revisit the Benda shooting with similar openness.

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Governor Dennis Daugaard is proposing a juvenile corrections reform package that will impose net new costs on the state of about $2.9 million. The proposal doesn't seem like a bad idea.

But may I suggest a policy alternative... or better yet, if we don't want to play false dilemma, a policy complement? Let's do as Chicago did and give low-income kids summer jobs:

A couple of years ago, the city of Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city's high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. The program was meant, of course, to connect students to work. But officials also hoped that it might curb the kinds of problems — like higher crime — that arise when there's no work to be found.

Research on the program conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and just published in the journal Science suggests that these summer jobs have actually had such an effect: Students who were randomly assigned to participate in the program had 43 percent fewer violent-crime arrests over 16 months, compared to students in a control group.

That number is striking for a couple of reasons: It implies that a relatively short (and inexpensive) intervention like an eight-week summer jobs program can have a lasting effect on teenage behavior. And it lends empirical support to a popular refrain by advocates: "Nothing stops a bullet like a job" [Emily Badger, "Chicago Gave Hundreds of High-Risk Kids a Summer Job. Violent Crime Arrest Plummeted," Washington post: Wonkblog, 2014.12.08].

Hmmm... 25 hours a week for 8 weeks at minimum wage... $2.9 million would pay 1,700 kids for their work. That's nearly three times the number of juveniles currently in JDC's custody.

The evidence says that if you put kids to work, they commit fewer crimes. Legislators, are you willing to put some money where the research is? Are you willing to include a jobs program in the Governor's juvenile justice reform initiative?

Tangential Reading: In other policy amendments, perhaps the Governor could put young people to work building bicycles. A new study finds the cycling industry is creating more jobs in Europe than Ford, GM, and Chrysler are creating in America.

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Governor Dennis Daugaard's budget proposal includes a new Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative. A major part of the plan is to reduce the frequency and length of residential placements of juvenile offenders—i.e., put more kids on probation instead of yanking them from their homes and locking them up.

Why does that sound familiar? I turn back to my interview with then-District 33 Senate candidate Robin Page:

Education reform isn't just about money. Page sees the education of lots of low-income and American Indian youth suffering because of shortcomings in our juvenile corrections system. Juvenile offenders with mental health and addiction issues are often placed in out-of-state residential facilities. Such programs in places like Utah and Georgia cost $250 to $500 per juvenile per day. Stays in such facilities regularly last 12 to 18 months. When young people come back from such programs, they deal with enormous disruption in their schooling. Their friends have moved on. They feel out of place among younger, "normal" students. They often come from homes that lack the resources to pursue GEDs. But without a diploma, they can't get into vo-tech programs and land good jobs.

Page would like to break that cycle. Instead of sending kids and money out of state, Page would like to invest in treatment programs that would keep juveniles, especially Indian juveniles, closer to home and family and maintain some continuity in their education. Such in-state programs would make it easier for families to participate in family therapy and other more holistic approaches to help juvenile offenders get back on the right track [CAH, "District 33 Senate: Robin Page Seeks Balance, Voice for All," Madville Times, 2014.05.24].

Ship fewer kids off to expensive residential facilities, help them stick with their families and keep up with their studies, reduce their chances of offending again—that was Page's thinking, and it's the Governor's thinking.

Alas, with respect to American Indian youth, the Governor's initiative isn't making much of an extra effort. The JJRI includes one recommendation (out of twelve) to "conduct stakeholder outreach" and develop a pilot program for tribal youth. The Governor's recommended FY 2016 budget adjustments direct just $5,000 more to the Department of Tribal Relations for the JJRI, perhaps to supply the study group with coffee and donuts... and, we can hope, to give some officials some gas money to head out to Rapid City and hear more of Robin Page's ideas.

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Pat Powers and plank

Pat Powers's vision problem

This morning's review of Dakota War College finds Pat Powers wallowing in blogospherical inferiority and hypocrisy again.

Powers finds it useful to mock that Sioux Falls paper for not making a headline out of where Sioux Falls police found a suspected killer. Over John Hult's straightforward journalism on the arrest of Arthur L. Brundige for the murder of Sabrina White, some copy desk editor (quite possibly out of state at Gannett Central) places the headline, "Homeless Sex Offender Charged in Woman's Murder." Powers slobbers over the fact, reported by Hult, that the suspect was found by police working at the newspaper Wednesday stuffing ads in the Thanksgiving edition. The suspect "was not an Argus Leader employee," notes Hult, but was a temp hired by Labor Ready.

Powers smirks that Hult and the headline "minimize the fact he was physically working at the Argus" and "throw Labor Ready under the bus." Powers appears confused: there is no bus-throwing here, just an accurate reporting of the facts.

This is the same Powers who minimizes the fact that he himself was physically working in the Secretary of State's office while maintaining a business and website engaging in partisan activities that represented a conflict of interest with his job helping to manage elections. This is the same Pat Powers who never blanched at Mike Rounds's minimization and outright misrepresentation of his employerly responsibility for EB-5 czar Joop Bollen. Mike Rounds actually knew about and approved of the plan through which Bollen broke multiple state laws and policies and defrauded the state of millions of dollars, then tried to shirk responsibility for those activities off on the Board of Regents. In fact, while controversy raged during the Senate campaign over Rounds's involvement with Bollen's exploitation of the EB-5 program and mismanagement of Northern Beef Packers, Powers said nothing about Bollen from September 11 until November 13, after the election.

Powers mocks journalist John Hult for reporting facts while ignoring the far greater culpability of his own rich and powerful sponsor.

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