Bosworth Lawyer Asked to Plead to Nonexistent Misdemeanors

In a departure from his standard form, Gordon Howie provides a quote from a named source in his continued misguided flacking for convicted felon Annette Bosworth. Howie somehow drags Bosworth’s Rapid City lawyer Robert Van Norman out to the blogosphere to spar with Attorney General Marty Jackley about the plea deals both sides considered before Bosworth went to trial:

I understand that there has been a controversy about whether or not Dr. Bosworth went to trial for dramatic effect as opposed to having been willing to settle her case pretrial.  The defense always was open to discussing plea bargain terms that would have been based on a high grade misdemeanor(s).  The State consistently refused that approach, insisting generally on a plea bargain based on a minimum of two felony charges [Robert Van Norman, quoted in Gordon Howie, “Is Marty Jackley Telling the Truth?The Right Side, 2015.06.15].

Perhaps Howie gets the quote and the source correct, but he then falls back into getting his logic all wrong. Howie lines Van Norman’s claim alongside AG Jackley’s statement that the state offered Bosworth plea deals that would have left the convicted petition perjurer “in a better place then she currently is in relation to any potential sentence or permanent record” and concludes that AG Jackley is not telling the truth:

Jackley KNOWS that even ONE felony likely results in the loss of Bosworth’s license to practice medicine.  How then, does a minimum of TWO place her in a better position?? [Howie, 2015.06.15]

Bosworth lawyer Robert Van Norman and Attorney General Marty Jackley: both right?
Bosworth lawyer Robert Van Norman and AG Marty Jackley: both right?

Actually, there is no contradiction between the predictably parsed, lawyerly statements of Jackley and Van Norman. Two felony charges bring a lower maximum penalty than twelve felony charges. Pleading in general wins goodwill from the prosecution, the judge, and the taxpayers, who are spared the expense of a trial. The deal Van Norman says the state offered, while perhaps unsatisfactory to a client who believes she should never be held accountable for her crimes, would indeed have left that client in a better situation than carrying twelve felony convictions on her record.

As for pleading to misdemeanors, to what misdemeanors could a petition perjurer plead? The Attorney General doesn’t make laws up to suit his political agenda (either his real agenda or that imputed to him by Howie). The Legislature writes South Dakota law. The Legislature defines perjury as a felony. The Legislature made its last amendments to our perjury laws in 2007, when they added the lighter Class 6 felony classification to the perjury penalties that previously were only as light as Class 5. The Legislature has not defined any such thing as “misdemeanor perjury.” The Legislature left the Attorney General with no lesser crime to which the defendant in this perjury case could plead.

In Howie’s Annettephoria, the strictures of state law probably prove the Legislature was part of the vast conspiracy against Bosworth six years before she announced her fake Senate candidacy.

But under the South Dakota law written by the Legislature, the actions laid out in the indictment against Bosworth constituted perjury. Under South Dakota law, perjury is a felony, not a misdemeanor. If Van Norman is telling the truth, we must logically conclude that the defense was asking the state to throw out its indictment and accept Bosworth’s guilty plea to lesser crimes that never drew the attention of investigators or the grand jury, if they happened at all.

The proper response to the Van Norman–Jackley sparring is, “So what?” Plea bargains are a favor, not a right. The state offered Bosworth a bargain; she wanted a bigger bargain. They failed to reach a deal. A jury thus got to hear the facts and find Bosworth guilty of every charge the state brought. Let’s close the case and move on.

15 Responses to Bosworth Lawyer Asked to Plead to Nonexistent Misdemeanors

  1. There are a number of misdemeanors they could have settled on as a benefit of the bargain (if there had been a bargain). Obstruction of law enforcement is one. Or whatever misdemeanor the Thune campaign absentee ballot criminals pled to.

    This happens all the time Cory. Part of Van Norman’s job is to find misdemeanors that would potentially fit and offer them up. Surely he offered specific misdemeanors Bosworth would have pled to.

  2. not to pile on but “predictably parsed” shows such little understanding of what lawyers do, that u should reconsider that three years. i do have to admit that i never dreamed this case would go to trial. what a waste of resources. could just have devolved to “if she is that stupid (or ill), i’ll just give her what she wants (public trial) and take all her money.” i once beat a bandido’s DUI/high blood alcohol prosecution at trial cause he refused to take a plea and wanted the state to pay for his defense. huge waste of time. he likely went on to get more DUIs, shot people and behaved like a typical motorcycle-club terrorist.

    one of allender’s cronies at the time said, bandidos are americans and have the right to have their national club house in rapid city. how nice!! the “other” (though not much different) one percent.

  3. mike from iowa

    State of South Dakota shares the blame with this train wreck by not reining her in earlier on raffle fraud .

  4. so troy, name calling, insinuating DSM conditions and suggesting someone with a superior education cant read is all u can muster. change parties and get a back-bone. respond to substance.

  5. Mr. Howie appears to enjoy keeping the Bosworth victimhood bandwagon going. I do not understand the outrage over Bosworth possibly losing her medical license. Doctors are supposed to be someone you can trust. Given her history, she has no business treating patients.

  6. Disgusted Dakotan

    To steal Paul Harvey’s schtick “..and now, the rest of the story..”:

    I heard from a credible DCI employee that DCI has slammed shut any overtime for the rest of their budget year because DCI expended so much manpower chasing down the Bosworth nonsense.

    Bosworth is/was guilty deserved to have criminal conviction. Misdemeanors plea bargain from the onset should have occurred before the massive tens of thousands of $$ expended. She is NOT a victim.

  7. DD:

    (1) I’d sure like a name and documentation on that source.

    (2) When law enforcement has to put in overtime, I generally blame the criminals breaking the law, not the police upholding it. But if you want to take a pro-criminal position, knock yourself out.

  8. Deb Geelsdottir

    “Annettephoria.” Good one Cory.

  9. Daniel Buresh

    Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief? There has got to be something that could cover those crimes as a misdemeanor. If anything, Bos’s attorney should have found them and pushed for them.

  10. Dnaiel, I certainly have not read every statute. There could be some catch-all mischief charge for troublemakers… but that term itself, “mischief” pops up under just two statutes covering what insurance policies may cover, not what the state can charge you with. Maybe South Dakota uses a different term?

    To further demonstrate my lack of legal training… Wikipedia says mischief in legal terms usually means “damage, defacement, alteration, or destruction of property.” I suppose we could work up a misdemeanor charge for her dirty-words-graffiti press conference… but dang, the signs Ryan Gaddy’s posse painted were her own… and those signs weren’t on the indictment.

  11. Dave Baumeister

    I have said all along that a criminal who puts the prosecution through unnecessary hoops is going to suffer. It is one thing if a person did not commit the crime and wants his/her day in court. But that is not the case here. When she was on the stand, Bosworth actually admitted that she had, indeed, committed the crime of which she was accused. If she had done that at first, then the AG may have offered her a misdemeanor plea. But after each postponement, I am sure he had fewer and fewer wishes to giver her a break. However, as has been said here, instead of being convicted of 12 felonies, she could have plead it down to two. Isn’t that like an 85% reduction right there? After the sentencing, we get to wait for an appeal, but I don’t know if there were any grounds for an appeal. You legal eagles, what happened at the trial that would have laid grounds for an appeal? She certainly had enough time to prepare an adequate defense. If anything, I think the prosecution would have an easier time at an appeal, as her I-did-it-because-I’m-a-dumb-novice statement is in the record and will be used against her. But I agree with Cory: “Let’s close the case and move on.”

  12. Roger Cornelius

    I agree with Cory and Dave, this case needs to closed and soon.

    Bosworth supporters seem to be going down in numbers and they are reaching illogical conclusions that will not be accepted at her sentencing hearing.

    Why they are still rattling the rafters is beyond me.

  13. Lars Aanning

    Congratulations to the righteous for their perseverance and success in having this physician labelled a “convicted felon”…and now likely to lose her license to practice medicine…a well-deserved “Mission Accomplished!”

  14. mike from iowa


  15. Lars, a woman who committed a crime has ben convicted of a crime. There is no injustice in doing justice, only unpleasantness for the excusers who must now adjust the false impression they had of that criminal’s saintliness.