I've mentioned Rep. Dan Kaiser's (R-3/Aberdeen) House Bill 1134, which removes the loophole prosecutors can use to prevent the expungement of arrest records, which allows the state to continue persecuting innocent people they've wrongly arrested.

At Saturday's crackerbarrel in Aberdeen, Rep. Kaiser explained why HB 1134 is important to him and to democracy:

Rep. Dan Kaiser (R-3/Aberdeen) speaks at crackerbarrel, Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota, February 7, 2015.

Rep. Dan Kaiser (R-3/Aberdeen) speaks at crackerbarrel, Aberdeen, South Dakota, February 7, 2015.

...[T]his bill reeks of Americanism. This is an expungement bill of people with arrests, not people who have been convicted, and in America, you are innocent until proven guilty.Now, unfortunately, in Third World countries, they have laws set up where the government gets to keep their thumb on people, innocent people. And sadly, I view it, that is our state law right now, that even people whose charges have been dismissed because there is not enough evidence to bring their case forward cannot that off the record. By definition, as Americans, these people are innocent, and yet we have laws in place that allow the government to keep their thumb on those folks [Rep. Dan Kaiser, remarks, crackerbarrel, Aberdeen, SD, 2015.02.07].

The two main perpetrators of the Third World thuggery that prompted HB 1134, Beadle County state's attorney Michael Moore and Attorney General Marty Jackley, both testified against HB 1134 before House Judiciary on Wednesday. Sounding nervous, Moore said the Brandon Taliaferro case was the only expungement request in twenty years that he has turned down. Moore said he applies three criteria to expungement requests:

  1. Did the person deserve to be charged? Moore insisted that, based on victim input and grand jury findings, Taliaferro deserved his charges.
  2. Does the person requesting expungement come to the prosecutor's office and explain why he deserves expungement? Apparently Moore expects applicants to ask him personally for the expungement, to explain how they have changed their life around."
  3. Does the expungement meet the interests of justice and the public? Moore did not elaborate on this point. But he apparently disagrees with the South Dakota Supreme Court's finding that the refusal to expunge Taliaferro's arrest, while legal, was "harsh."

Moore said no law should be changed because of one instance. He complained that no legislators had asked him to explain the details of the Taliaferro case motivating HB 1134. "At least get the facts: call me, I'll take you to lunch, I'll explain to you this case and why I withheld my consent." Moore did not lay out those facts for the committee at Wednesday's hearing; he apparently believes matters of justice like this should be resolved in a nice off-the-record lunch.

Rep. Mike Stevens (R-18/Yankton) dismissed Moore's contention that HB 1134 is a response to just one particular case. He summarized the effect of HB 1134 in committee discussion Wednesday:

...[I]t's a matter of due process. Our United States Constitution and our state of South Dakota constitution, at the heart of it is due process, fairness, having an opportunity to have a hearing. And when you have a statute like we have right now that allows one person to prevent due process, to me, that's not fairness, and that's not accountability [Rep. Mike Stevens, discussion of HB 1134, House Judiciary Committee, Pierre, South Dakota, 2015.02.04].

Rep. Isaac Latterell (R-6/Tea) asked Moore if a judge is less biased in deciding whether to expunge an arrest than the state's attorney who made that arrest. Moore rejected the assumption that prosecutor's are biased. "I'm probably the most forgiving prosecutor I know," averred Moore. He said he has to stand for election and wouldn't win re-election if he were biased.

Point of reality: state's attorneys are inherently biased. They order the arrest. They bring the charges. They stake their reputations on the outcome of a public trial in an adversarial system that presumes and accepts bias from both sides and leaves it to judge and jury to sort things out.

Attorney General Marty Jackley joined Moore to raise constitutional concerns. He said the 2012 Oliver case, which informed the 2014 Taliaferro ruling, hinged on Article 3 Section 4 of the state constitutions, which vests the power of expungement entirely within the executive branch, not the judicial branch. HB 1134 would thus unconstitutionally take away the executive branch's authority over expungements via prosecutorial consent.

Lindsey Riter-Rapp of the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers made short shrift of that argument. She noted that Oliver dealt with an individual who requested expungement of an arrest that led to conviction. HB 1134 deals with expungements for innocent individuals, against whom charges were never filed, whose case the prosecutor dismissed, or who win acquittal.

Rep. Timothy Johns (R-30/Lead), a former judge, further schooled AG Jackley, asking why, in the spirit of open government, a prosecutor under the reform of HB 1134 couldn't still go to the judge and make his case against expungement. AG Jackley was non-responsive, resorting instead to the comment that expunging arrests violates the spirit of openness by allowing people to "misrepresent" whether they've been arrested. Rep. Johns rolled past AG Jackley's barricades, affirmed Riter-Rapp's reading of Oliver, rejected any suggestion that HB 1134 is unconstitutional, and said any prosecutor who wants to block an expungement should go to the judge and explain why.

AG Jackley also attempted to conflate the issue of Taliaferro's arrest with Taliaferro's firing as a deputy prosecutor in Brown County. AG Jackley said the state's attorney had acted appropriately in terminating a prosecutor who had behave inappropriately and that while that inappropriate behavior was not necessarily criminal, that fact did not justify expunging the arrest or making an unconstitutional statute.

AG Jackley's sentence should have stopped at "not necessarily criminal." If an action is "not necessarily criminal," why is any arrest taking place? Why is the state keeping its thumb on an individual for an arrest that never should have taken place?

Rep. Kaiser HB 1134 identifies a clear problem with current law. AG Jackley and prosecutor Moore have used state law to punish an innocent man. Their testimony Wednesday, which gave no specifics on why Brandon Talieferro's unjust arrest should remain on his record, further exposes that urge to oppress and deceive. State law currently allows them to exert that oppressive power unchecked. HB 1134 justly removes prosecutors' opportunity to abuse their power.

So far, the majority agrees. HB 1134 passed House Judiciary 9–3 Wednesday and cleared the full House 64–2 Thursday. The only nays in the full House came from two Democrats, Rep. Peggy Gibson (D-22/Huron) and Rep. Kevin Killer (D-27/Pine Ridge). HB 1134 next goes to Senate Judiciary, date to be determined.

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You know, for being a conservative verging on Libertarian, Rep. Dan Kaiser (R-3/Aberdeen) sure likes proposing laws. He's prime sponsor of seven bills in the hopper so far (and he has until Tuesday to come up with more!). But sometimes you've got to pass laws to protect liberty.

One of Rep. Kaiser's bills, House Bill 1134, rights a wrong discussed on this blog and highlighted by the South Dakota Supreme Court last fall. HB 1134 would remove the clause under which Beadle County state's attorney Michael Moore and Attorney General Marty Jackley were able to punish attorney Brandon Taliaferro (pronounced /TOL - li - ver/) for challenging abuses of Native American children in the foster care system. The state presented no evidence that Taliaferro had committed any of the crimes for which it arrested him, but one niggling statute allowed prosecutor Moore to block Taliaferro's request to expunge the arrest record and allow him to practice law and go about his business without further impact from the bogus charges Moore brought. The South Dakota Supreme Court recognized Moore's action unjustly harmed Taliaferro but said the law is the law and dismissed Taliaferro's effort to win expungement.

Rep. Kaiser now seeks to erase prosecutors' authority to block expungement of arrests. As Bob Mercer points out, Rep. Kaiser has the backing of some legal heavy-hitters:

Kaiser is a policeman and his record in the Legislature has tended to be one of protecting people’s personal liberties. His co-sponsors include two retired circuit judges, Rep. Timothy Johns, R-Lead, and Sen. Arthur Rusch, R-Vermillion, and two private attorneys, Rep. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, and Rep. Steven Haugaard, R-Sioux Falls [Bob Mercer, "Supreme Court: 'We Recognize This Is a Harsh Result'," Pure Pierre Politics, 2015.01.29].

As always, Mercer chooses his words carefully, but he appears to agree that the state treated Taliaferro poorly and that those poor treaters deserve some scrutiny:

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee; a hearing hasn’t been scheduled yet. The Tailaferro indictment looked, from the outside, to have been a strange chapter in law enforcement in South Dakota. Now the matter and the actions of the various sides will receive further light, to a degree they previously hadn’t, before the Legislature [Mercer, 2015.01.29].

HB 1134 won't restore Taliaferro, but it will protect innocent citizens like him from future abuses of prosecutorial power. Stay tuned for the House Judiciary hearing: we'll see if Attorney General Marty Jackley can defend this prosecutorial veto power over the expungement of their own erroneous persecutions before the Legislature the way he did before the Supreme Court.

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Having to dig deeper than I to find reason to be thankful this fine holiday is attorney Brandon Taliaferro, whose appeal for expungement was rejected by the South Dakota Supreme Court this week. In a ruling filed Tuesday, a unanimous court said that the wording of the law prevents them from doing Taliaferro the justice of erasing from his record his arrest for crimes of which he is completely innocent.

Recall that Taliaferro was trying to help foster children who had been sexually abused by Richard Mette, who went to the penitentiary for his crime. For what seems explicable only from a nasty political perspective, the state cooked up seven charges against Taliaferro revolving around the idea that he and social worker Shirley Schwab tried to coax the foster children into providing false testimony against Richard Mette and his wife Wendy. The state utterly failed to make its case. Judge Gene Paul Kean threw the case out at the close of the state's arguments, saying the state had failed to offer any evidence requiring a response from the defense. This year, Circuit Court Judge Gene Paul Kean expunged five of the seven charges for which Taliaferro was wrongly arrested.

But prosecutor Michael Moore dismissed one charge before the acquittal and another before it was brought to trial. When Taliaferro asked that those two baseless charges be expunged, Moore said no. The state had no problem expunging eleven felony child abuse charges from Wendy Mette's record, even though the state had triable evidence to support those charges. But Taliaferro had to appeal to the Supreme Court for similar relief.

The Supreme Court says it cannot provide that relief. Justice Lori Wilbur says the plain language of SDCL 23A-3-27 lets the prosecuting attorney do what Moore has done and what Attorney General Marty Jackley has supported: bring baseless charges against an innocent man, dismiss those charges before facing the withering scrutiny of court and an embarrassing acquittal, then chain the wrongly accused man with an arrest record that he has to explain to every future employer. Justice Wilbur acknowledges that the result is "unfavorable" and "harsh" but writes that Taliaferro's "appropriate avenue for relief in this case is through the Legislature."

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Last weekend I posted on attorney Brandon Taliaferro's upcoming appearance before the South Dakota Supreme Court to ask that bogus criminal charges be expunged from his record. John Hult does good work this weekend explaining the many ways in which the state's petty refusal to expunge those charges acts as unjust punishment of an innocent man:

In an era of easy, online access to criminal records, past arrests and charges can haunt a person's housing, employment and education prospects for years, even when they don't lead to convictions.

"In a courtroom, everyone knows you're innocent until proven guilty, but the members of the public don't always differentiate between charges and convictions," said Tim Rensch, a Rapid City defense lawyer. "People draw conclusions just based on the existence of a charge."

Companies considering new hires will run a check of public records. If the potential employer sees an arrest record, he said, that's enough to take someone out of the running before they're ever able to say that a charge was dismissed [John Hult, "In South Dakota, Clearing Criminal Record No Easy Task," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.09.20].

Leaving a false arrest on the record becomes an endless tax on the innocent citizen's ability to make a living, delaying and denying opportunities for no good reason. I note with dismay that Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan is willing to impose such extrajudicial pain:

"If I believe there's an arrest that should not have occurred, we'll agree to expungement," said Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan. "If I believe someone did it, but I can't prove it, I will resist" [Hult, 2014.09.20].

Suppose a friend or a neighbor does you wrong. You don't have the time or lawyer-money or court-actionable evidence to bring that person to court. But you take that wrong as reason not to trust or work with that person again. That's fine.

But as long as that person remains innocent in the eyes of the law, you should not get to sue the power of the state to impose any further burden on that person.

Related Goose and Gander Reading: If you review Taliaferro's brief to the court, you learn that prosecutor Michael Moore asked for and the court granted expungement of Wendy Mette's eleven felony charges of abuse or cruelty to a minor. The prosecutor had testimony from her foster children that she had known about the sexual abuse her husband Richard had committed against them. In his brief to the Supreme Court, Taliaferro notes that the state had stronger evidence against Wendy Mette and perhaps did not even have the technical statutory grounds on which to allow expungement of her record.

When Taliaferro requested expungement, the state submitted an affidavit from Mette as justification for rejecting Taliaferro's request. Judge Gene Paul Kean viewed Mette's affidavit dimly:

In her conclusion, Wendy writes: "Mr. Taliaferro altered our lives forever, and he has not even begun to show any type of understanding of what exactly happened, nor has he made any offer or attempt to take any responsibility for his direct part in it." The reaction this court has is: Really? Taliaferro altered her life forever? Has Wendy forgotten about Richard who is in prison for sexual assaults on the children? Richard, who Katrina indicated was continuously assaulting her and at one time indicated that Wendy saw the episode and did nothing which was reported to DSS? While Wendy disagrees with this report, it was the information that the Brown County States Attorney's Office had at hand when the cases were commenced. Obviously Wendy is highly selective in recalling the history of events. This court should and does give little weight to this affidavit which is self-serving and inconsistent with the facts from the various cases involving her, Richard and the children [Judge Gene Paul Kean, expungement ruling, quoted in appellant brief, Taliaferro v. South Dakota, 2014.06.02, p. 17].

Mette's expungement was filed August 22, 2012, the same day as the pre-trial hearing at which, according to Taliaferro's brief, DCI agent Mark Black said the state had no evidence that Taliaferro had committed the crimes with which he was charged. According to a footnote in Taliaferro's brief (p. 4), "After State dismissed Wendy's eleven felony child abuse charges, consented to expungement of her record and placed the child abuse victims back in her legal and physical custody, State called Wendy as a witness at the grand jury that indicted Taliaferro."

The state of South Dakota seemed motivated to free Wendy Mette of the burden of punishment for crimes that the State never proved in court that she committed. It is odd they do not feel the same motivation to provide Brandon Taliaferro the same justice.

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On October 8, attorney Brandon Taliaferro will ask the South Dakota Supreme Court to expunge two criminal charges from his record. Attorney General Marty Jackley will peevishly argue that Taliaferro should continue to be punished for crimes he did not commit.

Permit me, as friend of the court and of justice, to explain:

In what Judge Gene Paul Kean himself called a shoddy and politically motivated prosecution, the State of South Dakota had charged Taliaferro with seven counts (witness tampering, subornation of perjury, unauthorized disclosure of confidential abuse and neglect information, obstructing law enforcement, and conspiracy to commit perjury) but utterly failed to make its case. In January 2013, Judge Kean acquitted Taliaferro without having to hear a single argument from the defense. In December 2013, Judge Kean expunged five of the charges from Taliaferro's record.

But what happened to the other two charges? The state's chosen prosecutor, Michael Moore from Beadle County, dismissed the obstruction charge before the Judge Kean acquitted. Moore dismissed the conspiracy charge, which was never brought to trial, right after the acquittal. When Taliaferro asked that the failed charges be expunged from his record, Moore got technical and refused to permit expungement of the charges he dismissed. Enter SDCL 23A-3-27:

Motion for expungement of arrest record. An arrested person may apply to the court that would have jurisdiction over the crime for which the person was arrested, for entry of an order expunging the record of the arrest:

  1. After one year from the date of any arrest if no accusatory instrument was filed;
  2. With the consent of the prosecuting attorney at any time after the prosecuting attorney formally dismisses the entire criminal case on the record; or
  3. At any time after an acquittal.

Clause 3 gets Taliaferro expungement on the charges where he won acquittal. But Clause 2 applies to the dismissed charges. By dismissing charges he knew he'd lose just like the other five, Moore at least assured himself the chance to stand in the way of any effort Taliaferro would make to remove those dismissed charges from his record. Judge Kean decided that, on those two dismissed charges, Clause 2 tied his hands.

In his appellant brief, Taliaferro says Moore shouldn't get to claim Clause 2 veto power. Moore did not dismiss the "entire criminal case"; he dismissed two charges that were "inextricably intertwined" with the five charges on which Taliaferro won acquittal. All seven charges rested on the same evidence, or more accurately, the same non-evidence. Taliaferro's brief quotes the prosecution's won witness, DCI Agent Mark Black, as saying the state had no evidence that Taliaferro influenced anyone to commit perjury.

With no evidence, no crime, and no conviction on the record, Taliaferro says it is unjust that he should have to lug around any charges or arrest on his record. He should be restored "to the status he occupied before his arrest or indictment," exactly as envisioned by the statute defining what expungement is for.

Attorney General Marty Jackley responds that the Court should just read the law and ignore "subjective notions of justice." In the state's appellee brief, AG Jackley says,

...the record of an arrest may in and of itself serve legitimate law enforcement purposes—such as deterring offenders from re-offending, assisting law enforcement's monitoring of certain offenders, or serving as evidence relevant to sentencing should an undeterred offender re-offend... [emphasis mine; Attorney General Marty Jackley, appellee's brief to South Dakota Supreme Court, Taliaferro v. South Dakota, 2014.06.11].

What offender is AG Jackley talking about? If I discard subjective notions of culpability and just read the law and the record, I find no offender to deter or monitor. The courts have not found Taliaferro guilty of any offense. The state has not provided evidence of any offense.

The Attorney General retorts that there was indeed evidence against Taliaferro but that the state simply chose not to present it. On this unpresented, unsworn, unscrutinized evidence, AG Jackley would do an end-run around his prosecutor's failure to convict Taliaferro and hang the punishment of unfounded charges around Taliaferro's neck. AG Jackley tacitly admits that the whole point of fighting expungement is to harm Taliaferro's professional status:

Nor should Taliaferro’s membership in a licensed profession make him more deserving of expungement than an ordinary DUI or domestic abuse offender. If anything, like a DUI arrestee who holds a CDL, the privilege of holding a special license arguably adds impetus to keeping a record of conduct that led to a licensee’s arrest [Jackley, 2014.06.11].

Even with these two charges on his record, Taliaferro retains his law license and can practice law in South Dakota. But if Taliaferro seeks to practice law in any other jurisdiction, he will have to explain why those arrests are on his record. That explanation will at least delay if not cast a cloud over his ability to practice his profession elsewhere. It can also complicate his application for other jobs or other commercial activities. And AG Jackley seems to think that an innocent man, a man against whom he had no case, ought to suffer that punishment.

Jackley's attitude toward Taliaferro shows a contempt for justice that should drive any voter to pick someone else for Attorney General... if only there were another qualified candidate for that job on the ballot.

Taliaferro did nothing wrong. Jackley's man Moore failed to present any evidence to the contrary. Moore should not now get to play legal tricks to exact a punishment that he could not win in an honest court battle and that an innocent man does not deserve.

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Leo Kallis helps us understand why Circuit Court Judge John L. Brown approved attorney Brandon Taliaferro's request to withdraw from Annette Bosworth's defense. The reason is simple and unsurprising: Bosworth failed to pay him.

In court yesterday, the failed Senate candidate complained that Taliaferro's motion to withdraw was too vague. Taliaferro responded that he had avoided mentioning specific reasons to protect Bosworth from undesirable media scrutiny:

My motion to withdraw was intentionally vague. I did that as a benefit to you so as to limit the amount of information in the record that the press or public could get ahold of. If you consent to my withdrawal, the court likely won't require any additional information on this issue. I believe that to be a benefit to you. However, if you oppose the motion, the court will likely require additional information from me, which will then be in the record. The same goes for the motion you are considering filing. Once you file something with the clerk of courts, it's in the record and available to the press and/or public. I don't see that as benefiting you, but it is your decision to make [Brandon Taliaferro, letter to Annette Bosworth, electronically transmitted 2014.08.03; quoted in Leo Kallis, "Apparently Chad Haber Doesn't Read The Paper Or Think About The Implications Of His Words," The Displaced Plainsman, 2014.08.04].

This August 3 letter shows that even as he is trying to leave the Bosworth circus, he is still trying to serve his client's best interest. The bottom of his letter suggests Taliaferro is even trying to help her line up a new attorney (Taliaferro mentions "trying to secure Mr. Schreiber," perhaps Pierre attorney Brad Schreiber).

But again, in Bosworth's narcissistic world, no press is bad press. She throws another tantrum, and Taliaferro's reasons for withdrawing become public:

As for the obligations you failed to fulfill, they are set forth in various emails and letters I sent to you. Essentially, the obligations were:

  1. Chad [Haber, Bosworth's husband] withdraws from the AG race before our last hearing which did not occur;
  2. Lee [Stranahan, Bosworth's paid spokesman] stops mentioning me, you or Mette which did not occur;
  3. We issue a press release distancing you and your defense from Lee. That occurred, but was completely undermined by the video you and Lee put out hours after the press release; and
  4. 25,000 retainer by July 25 which did not occur [emphasis mine; Taliaferro, 2014.08.03].

Bosworth promised Taliaferro $25,000. Bosworth did not pay Taliaferro that $25,000. She continues not to pay her debts to those who have worked for her.

Bosworth doesn't pay: the story is almost so predictable as to no longer be news.

Bosworth's exploitation and abuse of her former attorneys proves her toxicity. It's almost as if she's trying to make herself unrepresentable, to drive off every respectable attorney in the state, to force us to pay for a public defender. I could tolerate footing the bill for Bosworth's constitutionally guaranteed defense if she were really destitute and lacked the means to raise money. But her mistreatment of Taliaferro, like her parasitic relations with past employees, indicate Bosworth is just looking for another freebie.

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In January 2013, Judge Gene Paul Kean dismissed the state's flimsy case against of Shirley Schwab and Brandon Taliaferro for witness tampering and other charges. Last December, Judge Kean ordered the expungement five of the counts on which Taliaferro was arrested, noting with distaste the state's brazen disregard for court orders.

But Schwab says justice still hasn't been done. Schwab thus appears to be launching a whistleblowing campaign to challenge the state and raise money for legal costs. Her first public salvo is this video, summarizing her argument that the state has abused its power to shield a sexually abusive foster father and his silently complicit wife and protect itself from a lawsuit on behalf of abused Native American children:

To summarize Schwab's narrative:

The South Dakota Department of Social Services had evidence for over a decade that the five Native American children it placed in the home of Richard and Wendy Mette in Aberdeen. In 2001, DSS had the Mettes sign a contract requiring that they lock up pornographic materials in their home and refrain from touching the children. In 2007, DSS documented porn, physical beatings, and sexual touching the home. DSS left the children in the home.

Richard Mette was arrested in November 2010 and later indicted on multiple counts of physical and sexual abuse. Wendy Mette was indicted in March 2011 for child abuse.

On June 1, 2011, court-appointed guardian ad litem Scott Heidepriem reported that there was the potential for the Mettes' Native American foster children to pursue a civil claim against the state. The threat of such legal action, says Schwab, prompted the state to dismantle the team assembled to protect the children and sabotage its own case against the Mettes. Schwab alleges that the state executed and leaked search warrants against herself and Taliferro in order to cast doubt on the allegations against the Mettes. The state completely shielded itself from civil litigation by dropping all charges against Wendy Mette and returning the abused children to her legal guardianship.

Schwab says she and Taliaferro have incurred a quarter million dollars (and counting: the state is still fighting them) in legal costs. This video is part of her effort to raise money to cover past, present, and future litigation.

Update 2014.03.03 07:58 CST: Schwab offers documents to support her story and seeks donations to the "South Dakota Child Advocates Defense Fund" online at http://childadvocatesdefensefund.com.

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On Wednesday I discussed how the Brandon Taliaferro case exposes the ugly politics in South Dakota's foster care system. Now, a postscript from the judge.

A year ago, Judge Gene Paul Kean dismissed the state's case against Taliaferro, saying the state had failed to present a prima facie case requiring any response from the defense. Since then, Taliaferro, a lawyer and former Brown County assistant state's attorney, has been fighting to have the needless and baseless arrest expunged from his record. On December 20, Judge Kean granted Taliaferro's motion for expungement on the five counts on which he was acquitted.

There is much to discuss in this order; this morning, I excerpt Judge Kean's explication of how the Department of Social Services unfairly stalled in complying with Taliaferro's discovery request as he prepared to defend himself against the state's wrongful charges:

Judge Gene Paul Kean, "In the Matter of the Expungement of the Record Concerning Brandon Taliaferro CIV 13-346 (Brown County)," Dec. 20, 2013, p. 3

Judge Gene Paul Kean, "In the Matter of the Expungement of the Record Concerning Brandon Taliaferro CIV 13-346 (Brown County)," Dec. 20, 2013, p. 4

Judge Gene Paul Kean, "In the Matter of the Expungement of the Record Concerning Brandon Taliaferro CIV 13-346 (Brown County)," Dec. 20, 2013, pp. 3-4

The court granted a motion for discovery. The judicial branch told the executive branch of the state of South Dakota to turn over documents to aid a citizen in his proper defense. The executive branch declined and dawdled and only complied at the last minute. Even when it did comply, the state imposed conditions beyond anything the court allowed in its order. In doing so, the state sought to deny a citizen his constitutional rights at trial.

Officers of the executive branch who feel they do not need to yield to the orders of the judicial branch threaten the balance of power and the constitutional rights of all citizens. That's what's at stake in rooting out the corruption that riddles South Dakota government.

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