FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 6, 2016
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215
Attorney General Marty Jackley’s 2016 Legislative Package
PIERRE, S.D. - Attorney General Marty Jackley announces that the Attorney General’s proposed legislative package for 2016 will include a request that our Legislature consider and enact the following:
1. Strengthening Human Trafficking Forfeiture laws
Under South Dakota law, a person who is convicted of specific human trafficking and sex crimes forfeits the profits and assets associated with their sex crimes. These forfeited assets are used to pay for the law enforcement operations and to help victims of human trafficking. Because many of the law enforcement arrests and prosecutions are conducted jointly with state, local and federal authorities, the Attorney General is requesting that the Legislature allow the forfeiture of these assets and profits used in human trafficking be allowed whether the case is prosecuted in state or federal court.
“State, local and federal law enforcement officers continue to remove sexual predators from our communities during our joint law enforcement operations and investigations. Predators convicted of human trafficking and related sex crimes whether prosecuted by state or federal authorities should not keep either their profits or assets used to harm young women and children. Their profits and assets used to commit these sex crimes should go to help victims and support further law enforcement operations saving taxpayer monies,” said Jackley.
2. Improving Sex Offender Registry
South Dakota maintains one of the strongest nationally certified sex offender registries. There are presently 3,438 South Dakota sex offender registrants. South Dakota registrants have an over 99% compliance rate. In the interest of maintaining a registry in which registrants maintain strong compliance, changes including allowing the use of identification cards are being proposed, as well as additional protections including related to immigration documentation.
Several South Dakota reservations, while maintaining their own registry, cooperate and exchange information with South Dakota Sex Offender Registry. This cooperation better ensures that all communities in South Dakota, whether on or off reservation, have this information available for parents, grandparents and guardians to better protect their children. The Attorney General is requesting that tribal sex offender qualified offenses be made a part of the South Dakota registry. South Dakota currently cooperates with the Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Sisseton/Wahpeton and Standing Rock tribes.
“South Dakota is a national leader in maintaining a sex offender registry that helps parents and grandparents make informed decisions to better protect children. This proposed legislation will expand these protections further with our tribal partners and will assist registrants in meeting their compliance requirements,” said Jackley.
3. Addressing Vehicular Homicide
On July 8, 2013, Ronald Fisher, drove recklessly, impaired, and at high rates of speed through a Pickstown parking lot killing 25 year old Maegen Spindler and 46 year old Dr. Robert Klumb. Fisher was tried and convicted for two counts of vehicular homicide for his two victims. Because vehicular homicide is a Class 3 felony, the Judge was only able to provide a maximum allowable sentence of 15 years for each victim. Furthermore, because vehicular homicide is not statutorily defined as a “crime of violence,” Mr. Fisher may well only serve approximately nine total years for the deaths of his two victims. Vehicular homicide convictions over the past five years in South Dakota include: 4 in 2015, 4 in 2014, 8 in 2013, 4 in 2012 and 5 in 2011.
“While it is difficult to place a value on the loss of a human life, serving only a 4.5 year sentence for the brutal vehicular homicide of another human being should carry with it more significance and deterrent value to better protect the public,” said Jackley.
4. Protecting fetal body parts from for-profit sale in South Dakota.
Under South Dakota law, the sale or transfer of fetal remains is illegal with limited exceptions. The law allows donations of fetal tissue or organs in cases of spontaneous abortion and with the mother’s consent. Although the sale or transfer of fetal remains is generally prohibited by law, there is no specified penalty or crime classification.
Based upon the national reports and concern over the transfer of fetal tissue and remains, it is important to clarify and specify what South Dakota law prevents and permits and the appropriate penalty. Based upon the significance of the knowing and for-profit sale of fetal tissue, the proposed penalty is a Class 6 felony which is consistent with South Dakota’s classification for partial birth abortion violations.
“It is my hope that all South Dakotans, whether pro-life or pro-choice, would support limiting and deterring the knowing and for-profit sale or transfer of fetal body parts and tissue in our state. It is my further hope that when the law prohibits specified conduct that we are clear as to what the penalty is when the law is not followed,” said Jackley.
At the time of filing, the prepared Attorney General bills may be viewed at: