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Discussion Starter #1
I know there are other threads about this on this board, but in case you are one that doesn't scroll down very far:

If you haven't already heard, Congressman Bill Janklow that ran the stop sign at over 70 MPH and killed a motorcyclist in South Dakota was convicted of 2nd degree manslaughter and other misdemeanors. The maximum sentence is 10 years in prison. His past driving record showed multiple instances of speeding at high rates.

Today a South Dakota judge sentenced him to 100 days is a county jail. He will serve 30 days before he is eligible for work release. He also received 3 years probation, during which time he is not allowed to drive. At the end of the 3 years, if he meets the conditions of his probation, the felony will be removed from his record. His fines are just over $10,000.

I think this is appalling and that we all should write the Governor of South Dakota. We should also consider boycotting Sturgis. You decide for yourself. Many others on this board and the GWRRA boards have written.

Here is the link to write the Governor: http://www.state.sd.us/governor/

Here is the letter I sent to him and the Attorney General:


Dear Governor Rounds,

I hope you are as appalled as I am at the ridiculous sentence given to Bill Janklow today. Not only will he in all likelihood serve only 30 full days in a county jail, but, ultimately, his record will be cleared of the felony conviction!

This man is a long term, highly visible member of government. His past driving record has demonstrated his disregard for civil law. He has done nothing but try to downplay running a stop sign at an excessive speed and taking the life of another human being.

Do you believe that an ordinary citizen would have received a similar sentence? I think not. I cannot blame Janklow. He is only the latest recipient of preferential treatment from the "League of Politicians." You and your administration can at least censure the judge who handed down this token sentence.

I am truly embarrassed for your great state. I am sure the men on Mount Rushmore are hanging their heads in shame.

Sincerely,

Pat McNew
 

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Very nice letter. I agreee with it completley. I doubt very much that anything will ever be done but I do applaud your effort.
 

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I too, applaud your efforts to vent a bit for this outrageous inequity. But as a career corrections officer I've seen a wide disparity in how sentence guidelines are abused, depending on your social stature and economic status and if you qualify for a public defender or the ability to hire an attorney with clout.
Typically this should have received a year sentence with Huber and five years supervised probation.

Too Bad !



.
 

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I sent my note...just appalling..we should inundate him with e mails and let them all know we're not happy with another politician getting away with murder!..joy
 

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the average citizen would have never been charged, it would have been an accident. If it was an average citizen, it would have never made the papers or the news and no one would have heard about it. The average citizen in South Dakota would have been given probation and that is all. Just be glad you are an average citizen and God forbid this happens to you, it will be called an accident and not a crime.

Dan L
 

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Have to disagree with your first sentence Dan L. An "average" citizen with the same driving record would more than probably have been charged with the same (or higher level) of crime. You are very correct however that no one outside of the local community would have ever read about it if it was just Joe Smoe that blew through a stop sign @ 70 mph and killed someone.

BTW - running a stop sign at over 70 mph (well over the speed liimit) is not an "accident". An accident is when you don't have a lot of (or any) control over the results of your actions - he had a brake (push) and an accelerator pedal (don't push) that he could have used at any time prior to hitting the other driver.

Just another opinion - unfortunately it won't bring the dead back.
 

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Did

I did reply to the Governor !
 

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Woah Dan L,

Have you read the full circumstances of this crash? If it happens to any of us we deserve jail too. This guy was speeding 70 in a 40 MPH zone, and ran a stop sign. Odds are he intentionally ran the stop sign. He was near home and in familiar territory... You tell me it was an accident? The good congressman's record shows that he continously and regularly has disregarded traffic laws for years and years, and those are only the times he got caught and couldn't "politician" his way out of it. Maybe he doesn't deserve the 10 year maximum but 100 days is a slap in the face to the American public! A year should be the absolute minimum when a record like that shows this is not a true first offense but the outrageous culminaton of a reckless pattern.
 

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Here is my letter to Governor Rounds

Dear Mike
I am appalled at the sentence handed down to Bill Janklow and am growing more disgusted with politicians, entertainers and corporate CEO's that think they are above the law. It is becoming more evident every day that democracy is not applied as intended by our forefathers and that those with political connections, fame or fortune simply have no need or regard for the rule of law. I will be very disappointed if you do not take further action in this matter. Censure of the judge that handed down this sentence would be one possible step. I would be very interested to hear your stance on this matter.
Jordan Owens
 

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Bob C

I do know the facts of the case, not just what I have read in the papers. The papers put a lot of things out in the paper which was more witch hunting then true. The problem with this is now it will be easier to use this against the average citizen. A much better solution to this accident, would have taken his right to drive away, make him responsible for all cost to the riders family.

The state of SD is more responsible for not removing this bad driver from the roads. He did not have a lot of tickets, if any, for when he was stopped, he was let go.

He was responsible for the accident but crime, I don't think so.

Dan L
 

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I, too, just wrote to the SD governor and requested a response. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, I receive.

Danl's suggestion that he be made responsible for the expenses to the rider's family is probably moot in that Mr. Janklow's insurance carrier is likely handling all of that. The only thing Mr. Janklow would feel from all of that would be either cancellation of his policy or a premium increase.

Travelling at almost double the posted speed limit (70mph in a 40mph zone) and running a stop sign he knew was there (the sign was not new and the route very familiar to Mr. Janklow) should result in some personal responsibility to Mr. Janklow when his reckless disregard for others resulting in the loss of a life.
 

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Peculiar thinking

Danl,
Your comments are similiar to a few others I have heard in the past couple of years, but have never understood the underlying logic.

There were some Americans that actually said that the 9/11 terrorists attacks were our own fault.

Then I saw a letter in the AMA magazine in response to the "kill a motorcyclist, go to jail" program they are sponsoring. The response was from a rider who said that bikers are always partially responsible for the accident/injury because of the inherent risk of a motorcycle.

Well then, I guess the same would be true of anyone that skis, flys, swims, rides a horse, crosses a street, etc.

Janklow has a huge number of tickets for traffic offenses in spite of having a lot more never written due to his position. HE HAS EVEN RUN THIS SAME STOP SIGN BEFORE!

Hopefully, you are just looking to stir the pot and don't really hold such a Peculiar point of view.
 

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Sturgis is way out of my league and I don't feel fully qualified to comment on that aspect. IMHO, it seems to me that a boycott would only hurt the folks who depend on the rally for income. Why not have a memorial/protest ride in honor to our fallen comrade? The rally organizers may not sanction the ride but the press would eat it up.
 

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We have Leagues, now?

Tator,

Excellent idea! The Sturgis vendors and local businesses live for this 10 day period and they are the last folks we should hurt. Every one of those folks hold the same view as most of us bikers/motorcyclists.

I was still in the Sturgis area (post rally activities, like "Cool Deadwood Nights", and the Poker Run for the folks on their way to the HD 100th) when this crime happened last year, and believe me, no one was sympathetic towards Janklow!

What is the "out of your league" comment? If it means you haven't been there, I suggest you make some reservations, now. It is a great rally and after the crowd leaves, some of the best riding you will find.
 

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The reason I say these things is it scares me to think what the law will do the average citizen, if he runs a stop sign by accident. My biggest fear is that there will not be an accident anymore, people will be looking for the charge. Just because it is an accident, the person at fault is still responsible for damages.

If you think clearly, you would have to agree that he didn't even get a fair trail, for the jury knew things that was not presented at trail. So he got judged on details which was not presented during the trail.

Dan L
 
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