Tuesday, November 10, 2009

South Dakota's Grand Jury Laws and New News Stories....

Grand Jury Hearing Information:

All counties in South Dakota participate in Grand Jury hearings. The state does not, however, separate the Grand Juries by county, but by divisions (United States, p. 3). South Dakota is split into four divisions which each contain numerous counties. South Dakota also offers petit hearings. (United States, p. 1)

Grand Juries - Grand Juries are held in secret (NOLO). The jury consists of randomly selected citizens. It is the grand juries job to decide if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial. Indictment from a grand jury does not require a unanimous vote.

Preliminary Hearings - Preliminary Hearings are held to determine if a person being charged with a felony should go to trial for the crime they are being charged with (Preliminary). More evidence is needed in a preliminary hearing than in a grand jury. Because of this, prosecutors will often fore go the preliminary hear and go to a grand jury instead (NOLO).

Rapid City News:

The October 26, 2009 edition of the Rapid City Angus Leader article entitled “Trial begins today for Rapid City man who says he assisted in suicide” provides excellent insight into the jury selection process. The article notes “Jury selection was scheduled today in the trial of 51-year-old Robert Goulding of Rapid City. He is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death last November of 56-year-old Allen Kissner of Redfield (AP, 2009).” The article later notes “Authorities say Goulding has confessed to pulling the trigger. Goulding’s attorney says the shooting near Sheridan Lake was an assisted suicide, not murder. Prosecutors say they are confident they can prove murder (AP, 2009).” Unfortunately, the article doesn’t go into details about the jury selection process for this trial; The AP doesn’t even note if any jurors challenged for cause (perhaps because of this trial’s sensitive nature).
However, one may make assumptions on the type of jurors the prosecution and defense would desire. The prosecution would prefer potential jurors who believe in the rational choice crime theory, as well as socially conservative potential jurors who tend not believe in assisted suicide. The defense would probably prefer potential jurors who believe in victimization crime theory, as well as more socially liberal potential jurors who tend to believe in assisted suicide. Overall, this story shows that the jury selection process can be somewhat secretive (depending on that nature of the case); nevertheless, this case illustrates that one could make inferences about the types of potential jurors prosecutors and the defense wish to have on the jury that decides on the verdict of a given case.

Smoking Ban Trial:

The current trial in the state of South Dakota is regarding the ban on smoking. This issue was brought to the state law makers approximately eight months ago. The argument against this is that the smoking ban should be in effect now and not later. "I think it is important we get back to that threshold issue of, did the legislature intend this to go into effect? Should this go into effect because of the public health preservation?" Jennifer Stalley of the American Cancer Society said (Nobody Smokes Here Anymore). Part of the evidence that is being presented in court is a signature petition that Larry Mann is creating. "We're prepared to make a strong case that we've got a lot of signatures that ought to be included in that count," Mann said (Nobody Smokes Here Anymore). "I think we're confident South Dakota will eventually become smoke free. We just are working to make that happen sooner rather than later," Stalley said (Nobody Smokes Here Anymore). If this case is passed the ban will likely take effect in November 2010. The evidence that is being shown in the courtroom trial will be effective because it is showing the number of people that are for the ban on smoking in South Dakota and they also present the health risks associated with smoking.

Speedy Trial Information:

In South Dakota, a person accused of a crime has the right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury in the county that the crime was allegedly committed. It becomes different when describing an indictment, information or complaints. When a defendant is charged with one of these processes they must be brought to trial within 180 days. The 180 days start from when you appear at a judicial office. If the 180 days elapse and the defendant is not brought to trial they are entitles to dismiss all offenses charged. The rights vary from state to state, including Nevada. In Nevada defendants are also granted the right to a speedy trial. In Nevada a defendant has the right to a speedy trial within 60 days after they have been charged. The only way that the time limit can be extended is if the trial is postponed by filing an application with the court.


Citation for Grand Jury Hearing Information:

NOLO (n.d.). How people get charged with crimes. Retrieved from http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/article-29677.html

Preliminary Hearing. (n.d.). In Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary online. Retrieved from http://www.nolo.com/dictionary/preliminary-hearing-term.html

United States District Court District of South Dakota (July 22, 2008). Plan for the random selection of grand and petit jurors. Retrieved from https://www.sdd.uscourts.gov/docs/juryplan/juryplan72208.pdf

Citation for Rapid City News:

Associated Press (2009, October 26). Trial begins today for Rapid City man who says he assisted in suicide. Rapid City Angus Leader. Retrieved from: http://www.argusleader.com/article/20091026/UPDATES/91026006/Trial-begins-today-for-Rapid-City-man-who-says-he-assisted-in-suicide

Citation for Smoking Ban Trial:

Nobody Smokes Here Anymore. (10 October 2009). Retrieved 9 November 2009 from website: http://snus-news.blogspot.com/2009/10/october-7-2009-south-dakotas-statewide.html

Citation for Speedy Trial Information:

Criminal Process in South Dakota (2009, January 13). Retrieved November 10, 2009, from Lexis Nexis
Criminal Process in Nevada (2009, January 13). Retrieved November 10, 2009, from Lexis Nexis.

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