“Amendment E based on a lie”

The Rapid City Journal certainly pulled no punches with its editorial today urging a “No” vote on Amendment E. And the Journal nailed the J.A.I.L.ers in an area they’ve been skating around since the measure made it to the ballot.

The editorial says:

Supporters of the judicial accountability law say judges in South Dakota need to be stripped of their immunity from lawsuits in order to hold them accountable for their “unchecked judicial misconduct.” In fact, the pro statement explaining the amendment states that a lack of oversight over judges’ courtroom conduct “often lead(s) to judicial misconduct.”How often is “often”? How many examples of judicial misconduct, which we are told happens “often,” can Amendment E supporters cite? Judicial immunity has been around as long as South Dakota has been a state. During 117 years of statehood, surely there must be many examples of egregious behavior by judges that have violated citizens’ civil rights. There must be thousands of cases that can be cited. How about just publishing the instances of judicial misconduct that has occurred in South Dakota in the last five years? Are there any?

We have patiently waited for supporters of the JAIL Amendment to provide specific cases where judges have violated citizens’ rights and engaged in judicial misconduct. We have seen none.

Just because Amendment E’s supporters can make the serious charge that South Dakota judges “often” engage in judicial misconduct doesn’t make the charge true. If the accusation were true, we would know who these judges are and what they did in their courtrooms that violated citizens’ civil rights.

* * *

Despite the claims of Amendment E’s sponsors, very few judges, if any, are power-mad tyrants who need to be reined in. If they were, Amendment E’s supporters could cite them by name. Even one example of judicial misconduct in South Dakota would be more than they’re providing to voters now.

Don’t make South Dakota a laughingstock of the nation by passing Amendment E.

The Journal hits it right on the head. For months, we have been asking for an example of why South Dakota needs J.A.I.L. With one exception, all we ever hear about are incidents in other states, virtually all of which have been addressed through mechanisms already in place. The one claimed exception is, as I have pointed out before, bogus.

The Journal’s editorial could well be another chapter in the “J.A.I.L.’s Lies” series.

Opinions have greater power than strength of hands.


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