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Pennington County Invokes Marsy’s Law to Hide Name of Deputy Who Killed Suspect

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office is using Marsy’s Law to keep the public from learning which of its deputies shot and killed 19-year-old Matthew John Lorenzen:

“The deputy is invoking his protections under Marsy’s Law,” said the office’s spokeswoman, Helene Duhamel. “The new constitutional amendment affords him protections as it does any victim of crime.”

Previously, Marsy’s Law was used to withhold a South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper’s name after the trooper was allegedly attacked before shooting and wounding a suspect during a September incident in Union County [Seth Tupper, “Marsy’s Law Shields Name of Deputy Who Shot Suspect,” Rapid City Journal, 2018.12.07].

Marsy’s Law,” California billionaire Henry T. Nicholas’s vanity project to write his poor dead sister’s name into everybody’s constitutions, gives South Dakota crime victims “The right, upon request, to prevent the disclosure to the public, or the defendant or anyone acting on behalf of the defendant in the criminal case, of information or records that could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family, or which could disclose confidential or privileged information about the victim, and to be notified of any request for such information or records.”

I am dubious about the application of this constitutional provision to on-duty law enforcement personnel. As we argued in our discussion of the right of county officials to refuse to provide marriage licenses, constitutional rights apply to individuals acting as private citizens, not to public employees acting in their official capacity. Jason Ravnsborg did not have a First Amendment right to make campaign speeches while on duty in the Army Reserve. Former DPS chief Trevor Jones did not have a right to invite Ravnsborg to hold a campaign rally in the middle of an official Highway Patrol function.

When an officer is carrying a gun for the public, and when the officer uses that gun to kill one of us, the officer is not acting as an individual; the officer is using the power we have granted him to use deadly force to protect us. We, the sole source of that power, have a right to know who used that force on our behalf.


  1. OldSarg 2018-12-08

    I agree.

  2. Debbo 2018-12-08

    “We, the sole source of that power, have a right to know who used that force on our behalf.”


    OS, you have now agreed with 2 liberals or a liberal (me) and Cory. The planet still seems to be spinning and now so am I. In shock! 😆😆

  3. leslie 2018-12-08

    Ravensborg’s incompetence likely will be illuminated, much like Trump’s as they blunder through complex jobs they have little training, experience or aptitude for. Qualifications and hiring policies must be established with rigorous REGULATIONS, state and federal, consistent with democratic principles to weed out Republican flakes like Kavanaugh, Trump and Ravensborg.

    For once I agree with Sarge (of few words): Republican Sec State Tillerson, despite gutting the Dept, knew what he was talking about. TRUMP and his entire syndicate is TOAST. We cannot allow insanity at the highest, most demanding positions of govt, for the nxt 2 years. Fox, Murdoch, Koch, McConnell, Putin and others using Trump’s feebleness to game world resources must be punished. Obama failed us by not doing so in the recession. You own/shoot a gun-you are responsible. Why shield a cop w/ unintended consequences of Marsy’s law?

    jerry thx for pointing out sarge’s patronizing “there are lots of ‘fantastic’ people” of the broad alt-right in Charleston AND Aberdeen!

    Sen Rounds $25B for a wall not paid for would help Puerto Rico (tax haven like SD!) dig out and develop infrastructure from Maria’s $43B damages and 3-4000 deaths. Way to go FEMA (though more likely Trump enablers).

  4. Jake 2018-12-08

    No way should an enforcer of the law be incognito to the public in these cases! That’s like saying a judge could hide behind a curtain to render a sentence. I call BS on this one!

  5. OldSarg 2018-12-09

    This is also why they should disclose the FISA requests the government used to spy on the Trump campaign.

  6. mike from iowa 2018-12-09

    President Barack Obama and Congress changed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which oversees all manner of counter espionage eavesdropping, when he signed the USA Freedom Act on June 2, 2015.

    Guess which party of wingnuts controlled both houses of congress in 2015? I guess OS and his wingnut buddies need to quit blaming Obama for their party’s failures.

    BTW, OldScruffy, where is the Ellison video tape showing him assaulting some woman?

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-12-09

    Boy, awfully hard to keep people focused on the abuse of Marsy’s Law in South Dakota as a way for our local good old boys’ network to keep secrets from the public….

  8. jerry 2018-12-09

    If Marsy’s Law is to protect and shield identities, then why did the police disclose the gunshot victim? It seems to me that both sides should not have their names made public, or pictures taken of the broken car for that matter.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2018-12-09

    Trump is hearing voices again, just as he heard that FISA warrants were spying on him at Trump Tower.
    This time, Trump is hearing the Paris protesters chanting his name when in reality they are protesting the increase on fuel.

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