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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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Circuit Court Signs Order to Unseal Briefing in Berget Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, February 01, 2017    
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley confirms that Circuit Court Judge Hoffman has signed an order allowing the briefs in Rodney Berget v. Darin Young to be unsealed.

In September 2016 Berget told the court he did not want to appeal his case any further.  The State filed a motion to dismiss Berget’s case, and to carry out his lawful sentence. 

“The State maintains that Berget has the legal mental capacity to be held responsible and accountable for the murder of Senior Correction Officer Ron Johnson.  The unsealing of the briefing will further allow the public to see the facts and assure itself that our system of justice is working fairly,” stated Attorney General Jackley.

The Court initially ordered the briefs on the motion to dismiss to be filed under seal because they contain information about Berget’s psychiatric history. 

In its ruling unsealing the brief, the Court stated “this is a case of significant public interest, and transparency in these judicial proceedings is a compelling governmental interest under the rights to open courts and freedom of the press.  Adhering to these fundamental principles in this litigation is critical to insuring public confidence in the integrity of our judicial system, particularly in a case of this magnitude and importance.”

On January 2, 2017, Judge Hoffman ordered Berget’s counsel to submit a report addressing whether Berget is mentally disabled before further ruling on State’s Motion to Dismiss.