FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 09, 2015
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215
8th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Sex Offender’s 27 ½ Year Sentence
PIERRE – In 1997, a Walworth County jury found Richard Litschewski guilty of three child sex crimes. Litschewski was sentenced to serve three consecutive terms of imprisonment for a total of 27 ½ years.
Litschewski was convicted of raping his 7 year-old goddaughter in 1989. He was also found guilty of raping the 11 year-old daughter of a longtime family friend in 1991. Litschewski was convicted of another sexual contact incident of his goddaughter in 1996.
In 2011, the South Dakota State Supreme Court reversed Litschewski’s multiple sentences because they were not in chronological order to the time that each offense occurred. Litschewski was subsequently resentenced so that his 27 ½ year sentence would be served in chronological order. The South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the resentencing in 2013.
Litschewski next filed a federal habeas petition in 2013 claiming his rearranged sentences imposed multiple punishments for the same offense in violation of the double jeopardy clause. In 2014, the District Court granted his petition and vacated one of his three sentences, lessening his total sentence by 7 ½ years. The State appealed the court order vacating a portion of his sentence to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 8th Circuit reinstated Litschewski’s 27 ½ year total sentence today, holding the state court’s rearrangement of the three sentences corrected a clerical error and did not exceed the punishment authorized by state law.