The felony trial is set to begin February 1, 2015.
Twelve felonies to be exact. Class 6 felonies, punishable by up to 2 years in prison and $4,000 fine (per charge). She was arrested the day after the Republican primary in 2014. Attorney General Jackley said the crimes were “serious, deliberate and must be addressed in order to preserve the integrity of our elections.”
OK, so what are the charges??
She signed oaths that South Dakotans who had signed those petitions had done so in her presence. The “oaths” she signed were the statements on the petitions that she had witnessed the signatures. She allegedly was not “in the room” when the actual signatures were affixed to the petitions. On the dates in question, she was actually on a missions trip in the Philippines (perhaps also a crime in the minds of some).
If she WASN”T in the room… is that REALLY worthy of twelve felony charges, or is it legal (or political) over-reach?
Let me tell you that these “serious and deliberate” “crimes” are COMMONPLACE in South Dakota politics. During the frenzy of political seasons, MANY (and I do mean MANY) South Dakota politicians circulate petitions and sign as circulators when they are not “in the room”. At Lincoln Day dinners across the state, Republicans routinely send their petitions around the room. They do not personally witness each signature, but sign the “oath” that they did. I would venture to say that even our Attorney General may be guilty of this practice. PLEASE, Marty, say it isn’t so… not even ONE?
The Speaker of the House notarized his own petitions, which is a clear violation of law. No prosecution. No consequence. There are other violations of law regarding political petitions and campaigns. Most of them are simply ignored. So why the big fuss over the Bosworth petitions?
I have met Annette Bosworth. I have spent time with her and her family. She does not strike me as a felon. She is a very caring and gentle person. Perfect?? I doubt it, but I am proud to call her my friend.
You can make up your own mind, but I think the Attorney General, the people of South Dakota and the “integrity of our elections” would be well served by dismissing the charges. At the very least, offering a generous plea bargain that does not include a felony.
It’s time to move on, and give Annette her life back!
*** editors note: The attorney general is nominated by the convention, so petitions may not be circulated. A more appropriate question might be, “Mr. Jackley, are you willing to prosecute the many State Legislators and other elected officials who are “guilty” of this offense?”
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