On Monday, this blog aired Shirley Schwab's complaint that the state has been dragging its feet in responding to her criminal complaint against former DCI agent Mark Black. The press started calling Attorney General Jackley's office, and by Friday afternoon, AG Jackley had had enough. At the tail end of Friday business hours, Jackley issued this press release to (a) tell Schwab she's on her own in seeking justice and (b) put as much distance between himself and the whole Black-Schwab-Taliaferro-Mette affair as possible:
Attorney General Marty Jackley confirms that a complaint filed by former court advocate Shirley Schwab was forwarded to the Attorney General's Office by a states attorney based upon a conflict of interest. Because Ms. Schwab's complaint included a different states attorney and a former DCI agent, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) was requested to both review the complaint and conduct any necessary independent investigation. Ms. Schwab's complaint arises from the prosecutions of Richard Mette, Shirley Schwab and Brandon Taliaferro, none of which were prosecuted by the South Dakota Attorney General's Office. Richard Mette has been convicted of rape and is serving a 15 year prison sentence. Former South Dakota Special Agent Mark Black's employment has been terminated, and he is appealing that decision. Brandon Taliaferro's employment was terminated by the Brown County States Attorney. Ms. Schwab is now a former advocate for the courts.
The ND BCI is not recommending any criminal action based upon its review and investigation. Ms. Schwab may further pursue her complaint with another prosecuting jurisdiction or her former employer.
"Cases involving and protecting children are significant and sensitive. Our justice system and ultimately child protection depends, no matter how well intended, that individuals with authority conduct themselves appropriately and within the rules. When they do not, even if it does not rise to the level of criminal conduct, it should and has not been tolerated," said Jackley [South Dakota Attorney General's Office, press release, 2014.08.08].
AG Jackley expresses his sympathies but neatly hands off responsibility to everyone else. The North Dakota BCI sees no criminal violation. And if there is any civil violation, grave as it may be, his office had nothing to do with it... and will have nothing to do with it.
Schwab says she is "shocked, stunned, and extremely disappointed" that the state won't take action on the perjury and other crimes by Black that she can document.
I'm not surprised, but I do question AG Jackley's verb choice. AG Jackley says his office did not prosecute Schwab. Yet when Agent Black executed his search warrant against Schwab in early November 2011, Schwab says and a recording seems to support that Black told Schwab, "The Attorney General himself has told me to work on this until I am done with it. This is my priority case right now, short of a homicide happening." Did Agent Black simply "misspeak" again? Did Schwab mis-hear? Or is AG Jackley once again hiding behind carefully chosen verbs to keep the mud of this case off his reputation as he looks ahead to Election 2018?