FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Friday, March 2, 2012
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215
Legislation to Address Repetitive Inmate Appeals Signed into Law
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that Governor Dennis Daugaard has signed SB 42 into law limiting defendants to one application for habeas relief collaterally attacking a defendant’s conviction, sentence and direct appeal. The application must be filed within a two-year statute of limitations period from the finalization of the direct appeal. It also eliminates the current mandatory court appointed counsel provision and provides discretion to the court regarding appointment of legal counsel to instances when a Judge finds that such appointment is necessary to ensure a full, fair and impartial proceeding on the habeas corpus.
The law will not affect or otherwise limit a defendant’s right to a jury trial or direct appeal of any conviction or sentence. The amendments pertain only to collateral post-conviction remedies after a defendant exercises his or her direct appeal rights. These collateral attacks often involve claims of ineffective or incompetent defense counsel. While decades of delays have become prevalent in death penalty cases, the legislation will place the same reasonable limits on all collateral post-conviction appeals. The amendments are further modeled after federal limitation of post-conviction remedies and follow the majority of other state jurisdictions. The law includes important exceptions for cases involving newly discovered evidence, DNA, or a change in constitutional law.
“This law will allow the legal process to effectively afford defendants important constitutional and statutory protection without requiring a victim or victim’s family to await decades of repetitive legal proceedings often focused on delay rather than justice,” said Jackley. “The removal of unreasonable delays and repetitive court proceedings is expected to result in considerable cost savings to county and state taxpayers.”