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SD Senate Majority Leader on Probation After Pleading Down from DUI Charge

When the Legislature convenes for its two Special Sessions in November, expect Senate Majority Leader Gary Lynn Cammack (R-29/Union Center) to be driving extra carefully. According to South Dakota court records, he’s on probation until after Christmas for careless driving, a misdemeanor charge he pled down to on June 29 after being arrested for driving under the influence on January 18, 2020:

South Dakota Unified Justice System, record search report for Gary Lynn Cammack showing most recent court activity, obtained by DFP 2021.10.04.
South Dakota Unified Justice System, record search report for Gary Lynn Cammack showing most recent court activity, obtained by DFP 2021.10.04.
Senator Gary Cammack
Senator Gary Cammack (R-29/Union Center)

The court record lists the DUI arrest date as Saturday, January 18, 2020. The arrest took place after the first week of the 2020 Session; none of Cammack’s three committees had met yet, and on Friday, January 17, the Senate convened at 9 a.m. for all of nine minutes, with 15 of its 35 members absent. Without an arrest time listed, we can’t tell if Cammack was busted in the wee hours after returning from Pierre Friday or after a hard day of taking care of household affairs in Meade County on Saturday.

The charges were filed in Meade County, but the case was prosecuted by Alexandra Weiss, deputy state’s attorney for Pennington County. The ongoing Legislative Session and then the coronavirus outbreak may reasonably explain why Cammack’s prosecution until June of 2021. Pretrial conferences were held November 19, 2020, and June 10, 2021. A jury trial was scheduled for July 1, 2021, but Cammack avoided that publicity by pleading guilty to careless driving on June 29.

First-offense DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor which carries the additional penalty of revocation of the boozehound’s driver’s license for at least 30 days. Pleading down to careless driving, a Class 2 misdemeanor, spared Cammack the indignity of having to ask his neighbor Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden for rides to Pierre for E-Board meetings. The court fined Cammack $431.50 for the careless driving charge, $39 for speeding, and took another $222 out of his hide for court costs. Cammack is on probation until December 29, until which time, if he keeps his nose clean, the Senator will receive a suspended imposition of sentence, which will seal the record of his guilty plea and remove the conviction from his record.

So hey, legislators, when the Senate Majority Leader declines to go out drinking with you while you talk redistricting and impeachment in November, don’t give him a hard time. Help Cammack stay dry until December 29, and then he can rejoin you at the bar come regular Session in 2022.

23 Comments

  1. robbinsdale radical 2021-10-05

    Another day, another Republican white guy getting the kid glove treatment in the courts.

  2. Ryan 2021-10-05

    and this tool bag is almost certainly anti-cannabis because of the pretend dangers to society. people are the worst.

  3. mike from iowa 2021-10-05

    White kid gloves, doncha know. Sickening behavior, sickening dispensation of alleged justice.

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-10-05

    Thank you, Cory for reminding us that ridiculing someone else’ bad decisions often results in fate burdening our own selves with similar circumstance and punishment.

    Essential Meaning of fate
    1: a power that is believed to control what happens in the future

  5. Disgusted Dakotan 2021-10-05

    More drunken tomfoolery from the clowns that brought us drunken lying tomfoolery.. yep, he’s a real “leader” of the crash clowns in Pierre.

    Will the “Republican Senate Caucus” be kicking him out for embarrassing their entire Republican Party? Or will the SDGOP take action? What about impeachment of this drunken clown?

    Heck if the LtGov, Senate Majority Leader and President Pro Tem can drunkenly lie during session about their tomfoolery, why would we expect these clowns to take action against this drunken clown..

    Good reporting Mr CAH.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-05

    To Ryan’s cannabis point: let’s look back at 2021 HB 1100, the Governor’s attempt to delay Initiated Measure 26’s implementation of medical marijuana by a full year. Senator Cammack joined Noem and Speaker Gosch in the original call to pass HB 1100 for that delay. On March 8, he was one of only six Senators who voted against the crafty Curd amendment that added full marijuana legalization to HB 1100. That amendment achieved its real purpose, killing HB 1100 and ensuring the implementation of IM 26.

    Yet after Judge Klinger overturned Amendment A in February, Cammack said of legalization, “In my mind, it’s inevitable because we’ve already seen the support from the public.”

  7. larry kurtz 2021-10-05

    “Union Center was founded in 1927 by the Farmers’ Union as one of their first enterprises in South Dakota.” Laughable today.

  8. Mark Anderson 2021-10-05

    Well Cory, the ranch supply business does need some grease. Didn’t know they even had cops out west, especially that would arrest someone with power, that’s good. The arresting officer may not have known him but the higher-ups sure let him down easy peasy. Nice to know South Dakota stays the same.

  9. Francis Schaffer 2021-10-05

    I wonder if Senator Cammack had to report daily for the 15 panel drug test to make sure he was abidding by his agreement?

  10. Ryan 2021-10-05

    Cory, I appreciate your efforts on digging up the facts behind my assumption. He seems to have resigned himself to the eventuality of legalization but, of course, uses his power against the people instead of for them. Classic hypocrisy from another dangerous booze-loving republican

  11. ArloBlundt 2021-10-05

    Well…I always wonder why these wealthy, powerful guys don’t have a driver (paid or volunteer) when they go out and knock 30 points off their IQ. They must not have the mental capacity to anticipate consequence or literally believe the law does not apply to them. They are control freaks who insist they must drive. Good Riddance.

  12. Pat Gunsbach 2021-10-06

    What was his blood alcohol content when he was arrested?

  13. RST Tribal Member 2021-10-06

    Inbred Republicans seem to be a bunch of distracted, sexually charged up, drunken fools. And, they are holding state and Washington leadership offices. Maybe they are all not bad, but the list is growing since the guy went after the pages a few years ago and got off light.

    Now the inbreds are going full throttle. Might be time for a little weed; medical or otherwise.

    Drunkenness in the capitol, car, Vegas, heck seems anywhere a gaggle of the inbreds congregate someone gets touched, ran over or tossed in jail. Good thing the social studies standards were canceled for a rewrite. Don’t want facts to get in the way of the studies.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-06

    Union Center as a Farmers Union outpost? Fascinating! I wonder: what was Farmers Union’s position on temperance in 1927?

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-06

    Francis, the court record just says stay out of trouble while on probation. It doesn’t mention anything about check-ins. I suspect the down-plea got him out of any penalty associated with booziness.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-06

    Hey, Arlo, who needs IQ points to run the state when they have the trust lawyers, Matt McCaulley, ALEC, and other out-of-state right-wing bill mills to write their legislation for them? Here, have another beer, and say “Aye!” when the Secretary calls your name.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-06

    Good question, Pat. The court record does not include the arrest report from Meade County.

  18. cibvet 2021-10-06

    I wonder if the deputy who issued the ticket was reprimanded or still has a job.

  19. mike from iowa 2021-10-13

    Moar of that there Noem transparency on display.

  20. TGA 2021-10-14

    For another $697.50 Cammack could have gotten away with vehicular homicide, no probation and far less time in the court room. If only he had been looking at his phone.

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