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Ravnsborg Claims He’s Tried Criminal Cases in Front of Jury, But Can’t Think of Any

KELO-TV’s Brady Mallory asks Jason Ravnsborg to respond to concerns that he has no experience trying criminal cases in front of a jury. Ravnsborg responds with the kind of weak assertion that loses cases:

Brady Mallory: “What are some of the criminal cases you’ve tried, just to clear up…”

Jason Ravnsborg: “I guess I’ve tried a number of them, but I’ve also prosecuted people for attempted murder, and also for aggravated assault.’

Brady Mallory: “Can you name any cases?”

Ravnsborg: “I’m sure I can, but not off the top of my head” [Brady Mallory, “Attorney General Candidates Clash over Experience,” KELO-TV, 2018.11.02].

O.K., Jason, let me get this straight. The concern that you’ve never tried a criminal case in front of a jury was raised by your Republican convention opponent John Fitzgerald back in June. It was reported in the Rapid City Journal on June 15. It was confirmed by the clerk of courts for the county for which you volunteer on June 19. Your Democratic opponent, Randy Seiler, has been raising the point regularly in the press and on the campaign trail.

Your lack of experience is the single-most devastating attack against your qualifications to serve as Attorney General. If John, Seth, the clerk of courts, Randy, and I are all lying, you’ve had nearly five months to memorize the names of criminal cases you’ve tried in front of a jury so that when a reporter inevitably asks that easily anticipable question, you can rattle off those cases off the top of your head, the way Randy Seiler can:

Seiler says he’s been the lead counsel in 600 federal felony cases, and has tried 75 jury trials. We searched a federal database, and the results linked him to more than 600 cases. KELOLAND news asked Seiler the same question it asked Ravnsborg, to name some of his criminal cases.

“We tried a number of cases, one of the other names that comes to mind is Alvin Mound, currently serving a life sentence. I prosecuted a case out of Pierre where a young police officer who recently retired, Dave Panzer, was taken hostage by a young man who wanted to kill a cop,” Seiler said [Mallory, 2018.11.02].

Ravnsborg can’t do the job of intelligent, prepared candidate, let alone intelligent, prepared Attorney General. Randy Seiler can. Case closed: Vote Seiler.


  1. KC 2018-11-03 09:54

    Ravnsborg is a liar. He thinks everyone is as stupid as him. He has been lying to the folks of South Dakota and it’s time it stopped. This man was put into place so that he would not investigate, or question the results of EB 5, Westerhuas deaths, and all the corruption in Pierre. The same pigs want to continue to eat at the trough, Ravnsborg will allow it out of shear ignorance. Too afraid or lazy to be a working attorney he trots around the state masquerading himself. God help us all if this man is elected. The pigs at the trough are fat enough.

  2. 96Tears 2018-11-03 10:03

    Wow! What a head-flattening mistake! Ravnsborg is an embarrassment to every Republican in South Dakota. After EB-5 and Gear UP, the last thing our state needs is an attorney general who tells huge whoppers about his own trial experience.

    I can’t imagine how badly our state would sink if Noem and Ravnsborg are elected to the two most powerful seats in state government.

  3. Dave 2018-11-03 10:08

    Can anyone explain how Ravnsborg is even a thing? Have South Dakotans forgotten how unimpressed they were with him when he ran for the Senate in 2014 and came in LAST in the GOP primary election? Crazy person Annette Bosworth got twice as many votes as Jason.
    Have South Dakotan Republicans lost their minds? Do they really think a sizeable number of voters in the state have forgotten how poorly he performed on the campaign trail four years ago? Do they not realize we voters can’t imagine him not getting lost in Pierre, wandering aimlessly in the Capitol building, if he’s elected Nov. 6?

  4. South DaCola 2018-11-03 10:42

    I did a search and found he tried two cases as deputy states attorney in which he won. I was unable to find any others.

  5. Rorschach 2018-11-03 10:42

    If Rvnsbrg had tried even 1 criminal case he would remember the name. If he had tried 75 over decades like Seiler he might not remember all of the names, but he would remember at least 1.

    Rvnsbrg has not tried any criminal cases, and he’s lying about it. Besides that, it is pitiful that he has made it to November before the press ever put the question to him directly.

    I think Rvnsbrg is lying about trying civil cases to juries too. He still hasn’t named 1 civil case he’s tried either. He is an inexperienced hobby lawyer, and a liar.

  6. Rorschach 2018-11-03 10:43

    South DaCola, were these jury trials? Name them.

  7. Francis Schaffer 2018-11-03 10:49

    Keep in mind in South Dakota being a candidate isn’t about competence; at lease much of the time.

  8. bearcreekbat 2018-11-03 10:51

    It is double troubling that a candidate would think it wise to lie about his trial experience. Indeed, one has to wonder why experience in jury trials is even a significant factor in the AG position. A smart and qualified AG hires the best trial attorneys to do litigation. The AG doesn’t belong in most courtrooms, as she or he should function as an administrator working on policy, management and pesonnel issues, which should take more than enough of the leader’s available time.

    In my experience, AG’s and US Attorneys who try cases do so as figureheads in cases that generate public news. The actual trial attorneys do the work and the AG or US Attorney takes the credit and makes the headlines. This is a key difference in local States Attorneys’ position as most of these offices in SD are relatively small and the States Attorney is actually needed in court. Not so in the AG or US Attorneys slot.

    That said, Ravnsborg’s lack of understanding and apparent willingness to make deceptive statements about his experience shows a lack of understanding that undermines any other of his qualifications for the office. Had he focused on what type of experience is actually needed for the position, besides political loyalty, his 17 years as an attorney, along with his military service, might have actually constituted assets. As it is, he has presented himself more as someone who hopes to personally benefit from the perks of public office rather than someone seeking to serve the public, such as Randy Seiler.

    We really can’t blame Ravnsborg, however, as lying to obtain personal gain has become the new normal in the party of Trump, with Trump working very hard to lead the charge – Here are 11 pages of recent specific Trump lies designed for the midterms identified by Politifact:

    Since so many SD Trump supporters seem to appreciate, or a least tolerate, this lying behavior it is no real surprise that our Trumpist candidates for state and federal office, including Ravnsborg, might decide to emulate Trump.

  9. Rorschach 2018-11-03 10:51

    If Rvnsbrg went to a job interview with a law firm and was asked about jury trial experience and said, “I guess I’ve tried a number of them, but I’ve also prosecuted people for attempted murder, and also for aggravated assault.” “I’m sure I can, but not off the top of my head” he would not be hired. The people of SD shouldn’t accept a non-answer as an answer either.

  10. 96Tears 2018-11-03 12:50

    bearcreekbat, I believe you are making the same case that Chad Haber made when he indicated he would run for Attorney General while his wife, Annette Bosworth, was in legal peril for lying under oath. I recall that Chad said the AG’s job was hire the talent to represent the state in court and that a law license was not necessary. Campaign slogan:

    “If you liked Chad Haber, you’re gonna love Jason Ravnsborg as Attorney General!”

  11. mike from iowa 2018-11-03 12:56

    Therein lies the rub. Nobody liked Chad Haber or his wife except Grudzilla, because she was a fine looking woman.

    Wonder if Haber ever bothered to file his campaign report that was about a decade past due?

  12. bearcreekbat 2018-11-03 13:11

    96, that is an interesting and somewhat unsettling point! While I might agree with part of Haber’s argument (even a broken clock is right twice a day), Chad didn’t strike me as someone with the experience or knowledge needed to accomplish his stated goal of hiring competent support staff.

    As for the necessity of a licence to practice law, that is required before one can advise others on legal matters and procedures. Hence, it would appear to be a requirement for an AG tasked with advising the legislature, the LRC, or particular legislators, on legal issues, as well as publishing official Attorney General Opinions on legal matters.

  13. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-11-03 13:11

    What I would like to know, is whether the next AG is going to release the subpoena findings for those subpoenas which had yet to have been addressed at the time of Jackley’s pre-emptive press conference last April? A press conference which was designed to protect Mayor Ten Haken and suggest the whole controversy with his mayoral opponent’s hacked accounts was, but a true “nothing burger.”


  14. grudznick 2018-11-03 13:37

    grudznick urges all of you, or at least both of you from South Dakota, to Vote Seiler. In the name of whatever you worship, be it a God, Satan, or rock, Vote Seiler.

  15. mike from iowa 2018-11-03 13:59

    Seiler could be South Dakota’s Tom Miller, a gentleman above reproach and not likely to be intimidated by wingnuts into defending indefensible, unconstitutional garbage from state wingnut lawmakers.

    Iowa’s ex-Governor Braindead wants Miller replaced because he refused to defend unconstitutional fetal heart beat abortion bill.

    Miller is the longest serving AG the world has ever been blessed to know.

  16. grudznick 2018-11-03 14:53

    Good to see the Rude Iowegianism and junior high name-calling even extends to your own former Governor, the Honorable Terry Branstad, he of multiple multiple terms.

  17. mike from iowa 2018-11-03 15:46

    Grungezilla, I can see we have different definitions of honorable.Your lowered bar of expectations does not surprise me in the least.

  18. Roger Elgersma 2018-11-03 17:08

    If he can not think of any his heart was not in it.

  19. 96Tears 2018-11-03 17:38

    mfi – I believe that Miller is also the one who nabbed John Thune’s campaign manager Dan Nelson, Chris Tapken (whose mommy was U.S. Attorney in Sioux Falls Michelle Tapken … isn’t South Dakota just so homey!) and their bookkeeper Daniel Paulson on a pile of felonies after South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long dismissed it as malarkey. Because Iowa A.G. Miller stepped up to the plate, Nelson was charged with 28 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud. All three did time in the hoosegow.

    See, you can put South Dakota’s protected class in jail for theft. You just can’t expect a Republican to get it done. Their precious Donor Class might disapprove.

    Folks, you need to brush up on this one that Cory published a while ago:

  20. mike from iowa 2018-11-03 17:45

    Miller did indeed, 96 Tears. Grudz needs to tell Miller to prosecute iowans and leave South Dakota trash to run free.

  21. Debbo 2018-11-03 21:09

    It would sure be nice for SD to have an AG who prosecuted those who committed criminal acts regardless of their positions or political affiliations. Why, I believe that’s known as . . . . . . . . . Justice!

  22. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-03 23:12

    Marty Jackley had a heck of a time prosecuting folks in EB-5 and GEAR UP; to tackle corruption, we need to step up in legal experience, not down.

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-03 23:24

    Debbo, I’m sure Jason could name some neighbors who’ve said nice things about him, but he just couldn’t think of any off the top of his head.

  24. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-03 23:26

    Court transcript from an alternative future:

    Judge: Mr. Attorney General, can you give this court any reason not to grant the defendant’s motion to dismiss?

    A.G. Ravnsborg: I’m sure I can, but not off the top of my head.

  25. Debbo 2018-11-04 01:12


  26. leslie 2018-11-04 05:08

    Grudz’ ” strategy ” must be that supporting a Democratic candidate like eminently qualified, principled Seiler for AG on the state’s “libbie” blog will bring out the worst in Republican voters against him. Grudz, unable to cope w/ MFI’s unremitting witty commentary on all things corrupt in Red SD, is just like Trump calling out loyalist right wing militia gun nuts against asylum seekers on the border. If we are stupid enough to keep electing light weight crony Republicans like Rvborg, Noem and the rest of the Republican ticket of sheep, we deserve the mayhem Trump has wrought, and will continue to do so.

    VOTE BLUE along the entire ticket.

  27. Kelly 2018-11-04 05:23

    Reporter: Have you ever dated a woman?

    Ravnsborg: yes, I just can’t think of any off the top of my head.

  28. South DaCola 2018-11-04 10:55

    Rors, you are probably right. They were probably plea agreements.

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