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Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg

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S.D. Supreme Court Affirms Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Training Commission’s Action


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :    Thursday, February 05, 2015
CONTACT: Sara Rabern,  (605) 773-3215 

South Dakota Supreme Court Affirms Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Training Commission’s Action on Application for Law Enforcement Certification

PIERRE, S.D.  – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that the South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Training Commission’s (LEOSTC) decision to deny Brett Jarman’s application for law enforcement certification.
“The Law Enforcement Commission has the significant job of making sure the law enforcement certification process is fair and protects the public.  This is a good example of the strong efforts that law enforcement undergoes to ensure our officers uphold the highest standards of conduct and are both qualified and trained to protect our citizens,” said Jackley.

Jarmin had applied to the Commission to obtain his law enforcement certification. Because his application did not meet the legal qualifications provided, including that of “good moral character”, the Commission requested a contested hearing in March 2014. At the hearing, the Commission heard testimony from a domestic violence victim that included: “At some point during the altercation, he kicked her leg, too quickly for her to be able to deflect it. She collapsed, thinking that her leg was broken. Despite requests for her phone so she could call for help, Jarmin refused to hand it to her. Instead, she had to crawl out to the front yard, after which he finally gave her the phone. She called his son…her knee required surgery.” After hearing testimony and deliberation, the Commission determined that Jarmin did not meet the minimum qualifications for law enforcement certification due to lack of good moral character. Jarmin appealed that decision to the Circuit Court arguing that it was improper to deny his certification based on an expunged record and that lack of good moral character was not established by clear and convincing evidence. The Circuit Court agreed with the Law Enforcement Commission and affirmed their decision denying certification.

The Supreme Court stated that “law enforcement officers ‘are expected to uphold the highest standards of conduct.’ Green v. City of Sioux Falls. The Commission’s decision- that an individual with a history of using violence in response to an argument lacks the good moral character necessary to be certified as a law enforcement officer- is one within the range of permissible choices.” The Supreme Court further states that although Jarmin engaged in conduct a jury determined to be not criminal, and the legal actions taken as a result of the conduct were expunged, the Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Training Commission properly acted within its authority in denying Jarman’s certification based on that conduct.

The LEOSTC is an eleven member board, eight of whom are appointed by the Attorney General including: one member of the Highway Patrol, one elected sheriff, one municipal police department officer, one enrolled tribal member who is a certified law enforcement officer, one attorney certified by the State Bar of South Dakota, one individual recommended by the executive director of the Board of Regents, one member recommended by the South Dakota Municipal League and one member recommended by the South Dakota County Commissioners Association.