Yeah, sorry—it may be all Jason all day….
Yesterday, Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price said the evidence in the case of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s fatal car crash on September 12, 2020, supported a charge of second-degree manslaughter for the death of Joseph Boever.
Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore, who assisted Hyde County Deputy State’s Attorney Emily Sovell with prosecuting Ravnsborg for that crash, says the evidence did not support a manslaughter charge and says those who say otherwise are just “politicians” politicizing the case:
“I would say to the politicians out there that are making this very political, they have a remedy. But to point their fingers at the criminal justice system or at the prosecutors I think is wrong,” he said.
The state has no negligent homicide law, Moore noted. He said there wasn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Ravnsborg’s actions met the legal definition of “reckless” behavior, which is needed to charge someone with second-degree manslaughter [Arielle Zionts, “Ravnsborg Prosecutor: Politicians Should Blame State Laws, Not Prosecution,” SDPB, 2021.09.01].
Evidently it’s our fault that Moore and Sovell only brought misdemeanor charges unrelated to Boever’s death:
“They should only be pointing fingers at themselves,” Moore said. “If the governor wanted that to be a law, let’s see it. Propose it in the next legislative session. If the legislators want it to be a law, propose it in the next legislative session. But quit criticizing the criminal justice system because we’re bound by what you tell us to do and we followed the law in this case” [Zionts, 2021.09.01].
In his stunning missive yesterday, Secretary Price said the evidence of manslaughter was strong enough that South Dakota Highway Patrol officers, who are not politicians in the sense Moore pejorativizes the word, “stood ready and willing to provide expert testimony regarding the crash and the facts of this investigation at trial.” Secretary Price criticized suggested that the Attorney General’s “assertions” to the contrary about the facts of the case “disparaged the work and reputation of the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation.” Is State’s Attorney Moore now joining the prominent (and, it seems, habitual) offender he prosecuted in disparaging the work and reputation of the law enforcement officers who investigated Ravnsborg and found evidence that he committed a serious crime that prosecutors choose not to charge?