Execution dates may be publicized in SD

Execution dates may be publicized in SD by Jaimi Reimer The people of South Dakota may soon know the day and hour of a criminal�s execution.

The Senate passed, 22-12, SB109 Jan. 27. The bill provides for the public announcement of capital punishment execution dates.

If the bill becomes law, the warden must publicly announce the day and hour of the execution within 48 hours of the scheduled act. Current statutes mandate execution dates be released during the week they are scheduled.

One man, Donald Moeller, is serving time on South Dakota�s death row for the murder of 9-year-old Sioux Falls paper carrier Rebecca O�Connell in May of 1990.

Sen. Rebecca Dunn, D-Sioux Falls, opposed the bill calling for the lawmakers to �stop the runaway erosion of decency in the press.�

On the other hand, some looked at the bill as reminding the public that a crime had been committed and punishment was occurring.

�I think there�s value in telling society all over again why and where it�s (executions) going to be carried out,� said Sen. Mel Olson, D-Mitchell. �I want every paper and news station to run the picture and details of those crimes.�

During a prisoner�s incarceration, Olson said many prisoners go through some type of transformation that allows that prisoner to be portrayed as a decent, upstanding citizen. Olson said the public needs to be reminded of the kind of crimes that person is capable of committing.

Other legislators said because of the infrequency of the act, state executions should be

documented.

�Capital punishment doesn�t occur every day or every year in South Dakota. It�s more than appropriate that we say this is the time and this is the place,� said Michael Rounds, R-Pierre.

Rounds said that unlike other legislators he feels there is still a place for capital punishment in today�s society.

SB109 was introduced by Sens. Kermit Staggers, R-Sioux Falls, Kenneth Albers, R-Canton, H. Paul Dennert, D-Columbia, Gerald Lange, D-Madison, and John Reedy, D-Vermillion and Reps. Mike Wilson, D-Rapid City, Roland Chicoine, D-Elk Point, Richard Hagen, D-Pine Ridge, Pat Haley, D-Huron, Gary Hanson, D-Sisseton, Ted Klaudt, R-Walker, Gil Koetzle, D-Sioux Falls, Clarence Kooistra, R-Garretson, Larry Lucas, D-Mission, John McIntyre, D-Sioux Falls, Jeff Monroe, R-Pierre, Sam Nachtigal, D-Platte, and Al Waltman, D-Aberdeen.

The bill now heads to the House for further consideration.

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