Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Justice Research, a Worthy News Story and Controversy in South Dakota Law........



The UCR (Uniform Crime Report) is a report which contains official crime data collected by the FBI from more than 17,000 local police departments. The UCR is divided into two major categories. The first is Part I crimes. Part I crimes are: murder/non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, arson and motor vehicle theft. The second is Part II crimes. Part II crimes include all other less serious crimes and misdemeanors, excluding traffic violations. The most recent UCR available for South Dakota was collected in 2007 due to the participation of 118 local agencies.

At that time Property Crimes which include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson had increased more than 6% from 2006 and accounted for 91.83% of the total index crime. While $11,798,221 of stolen property reported in 2007 with a population of only 796,214 people may seem astounding, South Dakota actually ranked lowest in the nation with regard to Property Crimes (and fifth with regard to Violent Crimes) also of that $11,798,221 23% was reportedly recovered by law enforcement officials.



Q: What was stolen?
FACT: Clothing and furs were reportedly the most commonly recovered items.
Q: When did the crime occur?
FACT: September reportedly had the highest number of occurrences.
Q: In which city did the crime occur?
FACT: Sioux Falls reported the highest percentage of index crime at 32.70%.


Q: What is your relationship, if any, to your offender?
Q: Have you ever been a victim of this type of crime before?
Q: Was a threat of force, of any kind, used during the crime?


Q: How many times in the past year have you taken something that did not belong to you?
Q: How many times in the past year have you knowingly bounced a check?
Q: How many times in the past year have you vandalized property which did not belong to you?

Arrest In April Shooting Death In Huron·

This story from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader describes the murder of Ricardo Hein by John LeGrand in Huron, South Dakota on April 16, 2009. The crime theory that best fits this crime is the rational choice theory. This is because LeGrand consciously chose to shoot Hein (in an effort to prevent him from getting money LeGrand owed for construction work). The newspaper does not describe any alcohol or drugs in LeGrand’s system when he shot Hein; neither does it mention LeGrand having any history of mental illness nor any chemical imbalance; thus, negating the psychological theory and the biological theory for this crime.

According to Keloland Television: "The men were fighting for several days about money before the shooting occurred." Keloland later notes "The two men met up on April 16 and got into a fight. Later that day, the two men saw each other again. Hein got out of his car to talk with LeGrand and fell. LeGrand then drove over Hein's leg. After Hein was treated at the hospital, he went to LeGrand's home around 5:30 p.m. When LeGrand found out Hein was on his way, he went to get a loaded shotgun from the master bedroom. Hein entered the home; police say it's unclear if he was carrying a knife. Hein was headed down the hall towards the master bedroom when LeGrand fired twice. When Hein turned to leave the house, LeGrand shot two more times." Although the Keloland article does note that Hein may have had a knife in his possession; one could make the argument that this was merely for protection against the violent LaGrand (who had earlier drove over Hein's leg). Thus, its clear that Rational Choice Theory best fits this crime. Overall, I feel the only way we can help LeGrand by removing him from society, locking him up for the rest of his natural life.

Controversial South Dakota Law Issues

In 2007 South Dakota established a statewide "Sobriety Program" that provides "an alternative to incarceration" after a driver is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. In 2006 of the 191 traffic fatalities reported in the state 78 were alcohol related. Drunk driving is obviously a serious issue that requires serious punishments. This program basically establishes a way of getting off scott free for getting in a car intoxicated. The cost of this sobriety program which requires that previous DWI offenders be sober is very high. The offenders can be tested any given day of the week at any time. According to South Dakota's attorney general website they administer over 2 million tests since 2005. The costs of these tests come from taxpayer money and help to keep these "sober" previous offenders out of jail and on the streets. Also in 2006 there were over 11,000 DUI reporting in South Dakota but the program's website says that they only enrolled about 1,000 offenders into the program. That's only 1/11 of the total DUI offenders in the state. They are not effecting a good deal of South Dakota DUI offenders. Overall, the program does little to help the DUI problem in South Dakota and should be eliminated as a means of escaping jail time in the state.

In South Dakota it is illegal to renew or obtain any professional, recreational, permit or certification license if child support is owed by the individual. This law is a good idea in theory but also can hurt the people who are meant to receive the child support to. If the individual is trying to start up a business to get back on his feet and pay the child support, the law is preventing him from doing so. He will not be able to get his business permits or professional license to start a legitimate and legal business to earn the money he owes to pay his child support. Nor will he be able to renew his business license if he owes the child support either meaning he will lose his business and have no means at all of earning the money. When child support is owed the person owing the money is already under plenty of other legal problems. They are committing a felony by not paying their child support. According to South Dakota law also their assets are can be considered for payment instead of their monthly income. So if the ower of money is not paying the child support he might get his savings account held or his life insurance policy taken away. So there are other repercussions already in place that would encourage people to keep paying their child support, taking away their license is unnecessary.

Feedback on Class Blogs

It was difficult to pick just one blog post as each contained something relevant to the assignment and to criminal justice. What was most interesting was each blog’s presentation of the layers of the criminal justice wedding cake. It was interesting to read about the differences and similarities between each of the States.

Each blog presented different but useful information. Such as, the Alaska group blog contained interesting information regarding the Alaska Supreme Court reversing an unconstitutional decision regarding a man’s DUI conviction. The Texas group presented several important links to State agencies in their state. The Maryland group noted that the Maryland Supreme Court and Judiciary Courts do not present mission statements. The Minnesota blog noted that larceny is the most common crime.

Also, each group blog presented different layouts and pictures. For example, the Kansas group’s background is a yellow brick and their blog uses fun titles such as "Not in Kansas Anymore".
Each group blog contained some aspect of the assignment and provided the useful information by way of providing information regarding criminal justice and assignment one.


Photo Citation: South Dakota Highway Patrol http://hp.state.sd.us/recruit/images/week1%20recruits%20fall%2005.jpg

Citaions for Uniform Crime Report

Office Of Attorney General Criminal Statistical Analysis Center. (2008) Crime in South Dakota 2007. Retrieved on September 14, 2009, from.....

Citations for Arrest in April Shooting Death in Huron

Arrest in April Shhotin Death in Huron Retrieved on September 14, 2009, from..... from the World Wide Web: http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?ID=87849 and

Citations for Controversial South Dakota Law Issues

South Dakota Unified Judicial System, (2007). Felony Caseloads in South Dakota-Annual Report. Retrieved on September 14, 2009, from..... http://www.sdjudicial.com/downloads/ar/fy2006/crcd.pdf

South Dakota Attorney General's Office, (2009). 24/7 Sobriety Project. Retrieved on September 14, 2009, from..... http://www.state.sd.us/attorney/DUI247/247stats.htm

South Dakota Legislature, (2007). South Dakota Codified Laws. Retrieved on September 14, 2009, from..... http://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/DisplayStatute.aspx?Type=Statute&Statute=25-7

Citations from Class Blogs


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