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Jamison: How Can We Impeach Ravnsborg for Two Traffic Violations?

One Republican willing to run interference for killer Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is Representative Greg Jamison (R-12/Sioux Falls), who signals that he doesn’t want to get into impeaching public officials over a couple of piddly traffic violations:

Pollsters hired by South Dakota News Watch in October found that 66.8% of South Dakotans surveyed support removing Ravnsborg from office following his conviction of two misdemeanor traffic charges stemming from a crash that killed a pedestrian in September of 2020.

But neither of the charges now on Ravnsborg’s record — a lane violation and texting while driving — amounted to criminal culpability for Joseph Boever’s death. That’s why support for impeachment isn’t as resounding among some House members, who question whether two traffic tickets are grounds to oust South Dakota’s top prosecutor.

“There’s a huge precedent that’s going to get set by doing this, looking at traffic misdemeanors,” said Rep. Greg Jamison, R-Sioux Falls, who volunteered he wasn’t among the two-thirds of the House to sign onto the petition calling for the Special Session on Impeachment [Joe Sneve, “After Months of Talk, South Dakota Legislature to Decide Attorney General Impeachment, Redistricting,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2021.11.08].

Maybe a couple of traffic misdemeanors do not warrant overturning an election—although one could argue that inability to diligently and constantly follow the law disqualifies one from crafting and enforcing the law—but only the most deliberately tunneled vision will allow any legislator to suggest that tomorrow’s impeachment discussions in Pierre are about nothing but a couple of minor traffic infractions. Jason Ravnsborg drove irresponsibly and killed a man. Right before his plea bargain and sentencing, Ravnsborg was caught in Pierre speeding and driving without a license. Ravnsborg’s behavior since that killing has caused him to lose the confidence of law enforcement officials and the press around the state. And we’re not even getting into Ravnsborg’s inability to read and follow the law.

Perhaps Representative Jamison is worried that impeachment on the grounds of traffic misdemeanors could lead the Legislature to a moral obligation to unseat its own members who drink and drive. But tomorrow’s Special Session will set precedent no matter what. Representative Jamison should seek to set a precedent toward holding public officials accountable for bad behavior that destroys public trust, not shielding such misbehaving officials from accountability.


  1. mike from iowa 2021-11-08 10:54

    magats can trivialize a citizen’s death by ignoring the fact the citizen was killed and the perp responsible? was a magat itself. Disgusting, deplorable, despicable, filthy piece of human garbage.

  2. Eve Fisher 2021-11-08 11:24

    Well, now I’d like a look at Rep. Jamison’s traffic records.
    But as I told a friend of mine today, I think the legislature will vote with their fears, i.e., what might happen to them if and when they get caught. Seems Jamison’s the first out of the chute.

  3. Nick Nemec 2021-11-08 11:27

    This attitude is disgusting. Joe Boever was killed by Jason Ravnsborg because of Ravnsborg’s failure to comply with the laws of South Dakota. The fact that he only pled guilty to two misdemeanors is a failure of state law and the consequence of having a small town prosecutor unwilling to go to court against one of the most experienced and highest paid defense attorneys in the state.

    But yeah, go ahead and defend Ravnsborg, we are taking notes.

  4. larry kurtz 2021-11-08 12:29

    Maybe the best justice for Joe Boever’s family is the blood the SDGOP will ultimately spill as that body rips itself to pieces looking for its heart.

  5. buckobear 2021-11-08 13:03

    Just to clarify, didn’t jason plea “no contest” as opposed to “guilty?”

  6. mike from iowa 2021-11-08 14:06

    Repugnant Jamison is a piss poor specimen of a human or an alleged kristian. May his rotten arse burn in hell!

  7. bearcreekbat 2021-11-08 15:12

    Jamison’s theory raises the question of the standard of proof required for impeaching an official accused of wrongdoing, and who decides whether that standard of proof has been satisified. Article XVI, section 3 of the SD Constitution provides:

    The Governor and other state and judicial officers, except county judges, justices of the peace and police magistrates, shall be liable to impeachment for drunkenness, crimes, corrupt conduct, or malfeasance or misdemeanor in office, but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than to removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of trust or profit under the state. The person accused whether convicted or acquitted shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.

    First, it would seem that only the legislature can decide the standard of proof in the first instance, unless the standard is set out in the Constitution or by statute. In the federal system “there is no requirement for the misconduct to be an indictable crime,” hence the standard of proof is apparently less than the probable cause necessary for an indictment. And as seen in the SD Constitution’s language above, there is also no requirement for an indictable crime to impeach Ravnsborg, although being indicted would apparently be grounds for impeachment.

    Next, if the correct standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt” then that would be the same as is required for a jury to convict someone charged with a crime. In Ravnsborg’s case a second degree murder convicition would have required the prosecutor to introduce sufficient evidence to satisfy a the jury that Ravnsborg was guilty. But no such trial took place and we can never know whether a jury would have convicted based upon the available evidence. Instead the prosecutor choose not to charge Ravnsborg indicating she did not think the State could meet the required burden of proof. Such a decision is certainly relevant to the legislature, but it would be a derteliction of duty to simply defer to that particular prosecutor’s opinion rather than make an independent determination based on all the available evidence.

    If the standard of proof is more like the standard in a civil case, namely, the preponderance of the evidence, then the prosecutor’s decision really has no relevance whatsoever to the legislature’s impeachment determination.

    Finally, it should be noted that at least in the federal system, the prohibition against double jeopardy is not implicated because, “The impeachment proceedings are remedial rather than punitive in nature, and the remedy is limited to removal from office.” And as noted in the SD Constitution above, someone may be impeached and later charged and tried for a crime based on the identical conduct.

    Quoted material is found at:

    Bottom line is that pleading nolo to two minor traffic offense has no meaningfull relevance in an impeachment proceeding. The opinion of a prosecutor to refrain from charging Ravnsborg with a criminal homicide likewise really should have no relevance. Indeed, the prosecutor may have concluded soem damning evidence would be inadmissible, whjile the legislature need not exclude such evidence. The only relevant consideration is whether the actual factual evidence of what occurred is sufficient to satisfy a very low standard of proof and thereby merits a vote to Ravnsborg’s removal.

  8. Donald Pay 2021-11-08 15:25

    There is a precedent to be set, all right. I’ve been watching Republican corruption in South Dakota for 40 years. Just in terms of bad driving alone, three leaders, Janklow, Noem, and Ravnesborg, have dodged accountability that you or I would have gotten nailed for. Yes, Jankow finally got his dose of justice, after driving like a drunken teenager for most of his life, and that only happened after he killed someone. How many speeding tickets for Noem? How long until she kills someone? And Ravnesborg, kills someone and gets a slap on the wrist, if it can even be called that.

    There’s no law and order for Republicans in South Dakota. None. There is just a lot of dithering and fretting about “precedent,” though. I expect Jamison’s sentiments are shared by most of the dreck that inhabits the third floor of the Capitol Building. They worry about the important stuff, you know.

  9. Mark Anderson 2021-11-08 15:53

    Well Mike from Iowa has it down. Nothing to add.

  10. ArloBlundt 2021-11-08 18:00

    Well…Mike from Iowa presents a case for the House to overlook the weak wristed prosecution of Ravensborg and his pleading of no contest to an unauthorized lane change and being distracted from driving on a deserted Highway 14 by reading various blog sites. Those misdemeanors he confessed to and, his punishment by the court reflected the friendly prosecution by his fellow attorney’s from central South Dakota.Representative Jameson is asking fellow Republicans to ponder the precedent…what is more offensive a DWI, driving the wrong way on a street or divided highway, or driving while distracted. Given human foibles, every elected official is at risk. Fact is, Ravensborg faces impeachment for his recorded, videoed, disingenuous, and self serving interview with the North Dakota DCI not for the findings of a dysfunctional court. Precedent or no, Joe Boever calls from the grave that Ravensborg be impeached and forgotten.

  11. ABC 2021-11-08 23:56

    Since 66% want him impeached, of course the MINORITY Rep. Party (48% of all registered voters, look it up on SOS website!) wants to
    keep him.

    The odor!

    The official Democratic Party line on impeachment? Is it on their webpage? Crickets………………….

    Minority Rippies want the majority of South Dakotans and Americans silenced, because they think they know better?

  12. ABC 2021-11-09 00:05

    Here s the Dem. Party web page>>

    Sign up for Newsletters, Press Releases, and Action Alerts!
    Email address

    Not very informative.

    High Wages Party
    1. Move capital to Huron.
    2. Basic income tax, 3% for rich folks, 0% if you earn 39K or less.
    3. 50 signatures, you’re on state or federal ballot (like hawaii)
    4. Initiative and referendum stays the same (50% plus 1 vote) except LOWER signature requirements
    5. 200 signatures, you have a political party, no vote requirement in subsequent elections.
    6. Climate office (for climate improvement) in each county, staffed by at least 2 employees.
    7. Elections every year.
    8. Term limits are 4 years max, per person, forever.
    9. Governor serves 2 years. 2 terms max.
    10. High Wages office, one in each county. Staffed by 3 employees in each county. They will help employers voluntarily raise wages to
    $30 an hour plus, And they will teach workers how they can pay high wages, if they set up social business, business or a co-op.

    Let’s go!

  13. ABC 2021-11-09 00:23

    High Wages Party vs Dems vs. Reps vs. Libertarians, now that would be an interesting

    Hey, the Governor of South Dakota in 1941, when Mt Rushmore was finished, was Bushfield. Check this out!

    “Governor Bushfield was one of South Dakota’s most fiscally conservative leaders. He was an ardent admirer of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, and especially admired Jefferson’s commitment to fiscal responsibility. Bushfield consolidated state departments, cut 300 state jobs, and cut spending by 26 percent. He cut the state sales tax, eliminated the state property tax, and advocated for the repeal of the state income tax”

    That was written by written by Tony Venhuizen !!! Wasnt that Daugaaaaaard’s Chief of Staff?

    So from 1939 to 1943, Bushfield (of Miller) was Governor and he was TRYING TO REPEAL the INCOME TAX in South Dakota?
    How well do republicans know history?

    I just sent him a Tweet: “Hey, you are quoted in Gov. Bushfield’s bio as sayin”g:
    “He cut the state sales tax, eliminated the state property tax, and advocated for the repeal of the state income tax. ” He was Gov. from 1939 to 1943. Seriously? There was income tax in SD in 1940?. ”

    We’ll see what he says.

  14. ABC 2021-11-09 00:29

    Back to the High Wages Party.

    $36 an hour! Let’s go for it!

    Here are the responses:

    Rep— Oh you would break the back of Capital-hog-ism if you raised wages that much! UnAmerican! Can’t do!
    Dem– Oh, we’re too weak to change it. Besides, it isnt bipartisan!
    Libertarian– You can;t force employers to ;pay high wages. It’s theft!

    High Wages Party spokes people in 67 counties– Hey, its voluntary. It;s a suggestion. A custom people can follow if they want happy employees! High Wages are very American! We’ll let you guys be weak, no ;problem. It is not theft. It’s a brioght idea that smart businesses use to grow their business and keep employees loyal and happy!

  15. ABC 2021-11-09 00:46

    Here;s from the Historical Marker in Miller-

    Harlan J. Bushfield & Vera S. Cahalan Bushfield

    Harlan J. Bushfield & Vera S. Cahalan Bushfield Marker image. Click for full size.
    By Cosmos Mariner, July 14, 2018
    1. Harlan J. Bushfield & Vera S. Cahalan Bushfield Marker
    Inscription. Click to hear the inscription.
    “Harlan J. Bushfield, born August 6, 1882 in Atlantic, Iowa, came to Miller in 1883. He earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1904 and returned to Miller to practice law. In 1912, Bushfield married Vera Cahalan, a fellow Miller native.

    The Bushfields were community leaders in Miller and both served on many boards. Harlan also served as Hand County State’s Attorney and as state chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party.

    Harlan was elected South Dakota Governor in 1938. He led the state through the beginning of World War II. He reduced state spending, cut sales and property taxes, and lobbied to end the state income tax. He promoted regional plans for Missouri River development, which led to the Pick-Sloan plan for dam construction.

    In 1942, Harlan was elected to the U.S. Senate. He suffered a stroke and died in 1948 before the end of his term. Vera was appointed to her husband’s seat, making her the second woman to represent South Dakota in Congress.

    Harlan and Vera Bushfield were public servants who carried small town values from Miller, to Pierre, and onto Washington, D.C.”

    The Historical society is ok with that.

    My question is–

    How MUCH was the state income tax in 1939-1943?

  16. ABC 2021-11-09 00:53

    Gov. Bushfield

    So it was Gospel in 2015 when they were memorializing Gov. Bushfield to say: “, and lobbied to end the state income tax. ” He lobbied the State Legislature? But there wasn’t any SD income tax in 1939? How can they repeal something that doesn’t exist?

    Republicans don’t know history.

    Or maybe there WAS an SD income tax in 1939???

  17. O 2021-11-09 08:20

    Well, I suppose this is the inversion of the “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere” reasoning. I had never considered it to be a justification for injustice everywhere before now.

    The underlying question remains: who will step in and make this horrible situation right? The investigation didn’t seem to; the criminal courts did not seem to; the legislature doesn’t seem to want to. I cannot speak to the civil remedy.

  18. Mark Anderson 2021-11-09 16:28

    Well, on this issue it’s as easy as ABC.

  19. Porter Lansing 2021-11-09 16:51

    $36.00 an hour isn’t “High Wages”.

    The average wage in USA currently is $33.00 per hour.

    If you don’t earn that or more, why are you choosing to live where people are prone to “just settle for less”?

  20. ArloBlundt 2021-11-09 17:21

    Governor Tom Berry and the Democratic legislature put in a 1% income tax on gross receipts and salaries on all earners and busnesses in the 1930’s New Deal surge. He also introduced a 1% regressive sales tax. Berry still cut many state jobs and instituted a conservative fiscal policy but in the midst of the Dust Bowl there was little revenue to be had from the income, the sales or property tax. The most successful taxation during the Depression was a tax on gold ore mined, primarily by Homestake, in a bill introduced by Emil Loricks. See Alton Lee’s book “A New Deal for South Dakota” for very good background on both the Berry and Bushfield administrations. Book is available through the South Dakota State Historical Society or Amazon.

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