Clubs & Organizations: Attorney general speaks to Rotarians

The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly luncheon meeting on Tuesday, April 5, at the Neuharth Media Center on the campus of USD.  President John Prescott opened the meeting and led the invocation and recitation of the Rotary 4-Way Test. This was followed by a round of singing, introduction of guests, and announcements including the fitting of bike helmets to all second graders on April 15 at Jolley School.

President Prescott introduced Attorney General Marty Jackley as our speaker. Jackley was first elected as attorney general in 2009. He is a graduate of the School of Mines and has a law degree from USD.

The office of Attorney General of South Dakota is divided into various divisions. The first division he talked about was the Criminal Division. This division works primarily with states attorneys. There is also an Investigative Division, which assists local law enforcement officers and also trains and certifies police and fire officers.  They have a state-of-the-art laboratory for criminal investigation and work with the FBI as well.

Another division is the Civil Division, which handles lawsuits, immigration cases, and others.  Besides major criminal cases, they work on crime prevention. Jackley mentioned the 24/7 monitoring program as a case in point. Our own Art Mabry is the head of this program. This program is an alternative to incarceration for those convicted of DWI. 

They have to report to a law enforcement office twice a day for sobriety testing. For those who live too far from a law enforcement office, there are ignition interlocks, which contain a sobriety tester, which has to be used before the automobile will start. This device will be pilot tested in Lincoln County. Jackley said that these and similar devices have reduced repeat offences by 50 percent.

Another division deals with Internet Crimes Against Children.  They conduct sting operations to catch the criminals in the act of contacting children, run a sex offender registration system and provide response teams to assist local authorities.

The office of attorney general also deals with political issues, which run the gamut. The attorney general has several �clients,� including the governor, the legislature, and the state itself.  One of the most publicized is the health care law, which requires everyone to purchase health insurance. This law has been declared unconstitutional by a Florida judge and oral arguments will be held on June 8 by the 11th Circuit Court. If this proves to be unsatisfactory to all parties, it may go to the Supreme Court. There are several other cases that the office is currently dealing with.

Jackley stated that if a statute has become law, then the attorney general has to defend that law despite what he may think of the law personally.

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