Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Can you imagine being sued for the decision you reach while serving on jury duty; or while serving on a school board or city council? If Amendment E passes on November 7, it can and will be a reality.

Amendment E is the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (JAIL) and is the brain child of Ron Branson of North Hollywood, California, a man disgusted with the judicial system after being unsuccessful in numerous attempts to sue judges. He has failed to get the JAIL amendment on the ballot in CA, Idaho and WA, and now wants South Dakota to be America's guinea pig.

At first, one might believe that the JAIL Amendment would only affect judges who overstepped their bounds; however, a "judge", as defined by the amendment, is a "justice, judge, magistrate judge, judge pro tem, and all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity." That last element is a catch-all for anyone in a decision-making capacity such as city councils, school boards, law enforcement, prosecutors, city and county commissioners, medical boards, water boards, zoning boards, licensing boards, elected officials and jurors. Should Amendment E pass, it will be difficult to find qualified people to serve in those capacities out of fear of being sued by a disgruntled party.

This amendment will have serious consequences to South Dakota tax payers. Should the amendment pass, a special grand jury will be made of thirteen individuals, each receiving a salary similar to that of a Circuit Court Judge. This would cost approximately 2.5 million dollars per year. The amendment also requires a suitable facility to be built for the jurors to hear the cases and an annual budget that is double the combined salaries of the the thirteen juries. Some of that money is collected from the salaries of current judges, but the amendment states that the legislature shall replenish the remainder from the state treasury. Guess whose money is in the state treasury? Tax payer money; your money.

The JAIL amendment grants unlimited authority to the grand jury. Their decisions cannot be overturned and they cannot be held liable, either civilly or criminally, for the decisions they make. How ironic, for the alleged purpose of the amendment is to take away judicial immunity. In reality, it is just giving immunity to others. The grand jury serves as both the finders of the fact and of the law, and are instructed to liberally construe the facts in favor of the complainant. So much for "innocent until proven guilty." If you are sued under the JAIL amendment, the grand jury will assume you did wrong, and it is up to you to prove otherwise.

There are many more reasons why the JAIL amendment is bad for South Dakota, so I urge you to visit www.no-on-e.com or to call me for more information. Most importantly, be sure to vote "no" on amendment E on November 7.

/s/Daniel G. Van Gorp

Daniel G. Van Gorp

Philip, SD 57567


Dear Editor,

If honesty and integrity are qualities you want in the person who represents you in the Senate, then Mr. Hanrahan definitely meets those qualifications.

I have known Craig all of his life and have served several years with him on the Haakon County School Board. I found Craig to come prepared on the issues at hand with an open mind, yet not afraid to stand alone if necessary.

Craig is a strong family man with conservative viewpoints.

I feel confident Mr. Hanrahan is capable of fulfilling the responsibility of the office of State Senator for District. 27.

/s/ Bill Parsons

Bill Parsons

Milesville, SD 57553


Dear Editor,

I have had the fortunate experience to have spent the last two and a half years as a member of the Haakon County school board with Craig Hanrahan as chairman. It has been a very rewarding, challenging, and educational position for me, due in great part to Craig. He has helped to explain the sometimes complicated system of funding and policy making to me and several other novices on the board. He has shown great flexibility and patience in this regard.

Craig Hanrahan has proven to be very hard-working and fiscally responsible for the local constituency. He has shown great integrity and common sense in all aspects of any decision that has been made by the board. He has been assessable and approachable to patrons, fellow board members and administration. He has also been honest, even when it wasn't what everyone might have wanted to hear.

I believe Craig will take these attributes with him to Pierre when he wins his bid for the District 27 Senate seat. His knowledge of the educational system as well as his years spent in the ranching and agriculture business will prove to be a valuable asset to the residents of District 27.

As voters, we know only one voice is allowed to advocate for us in the state Senate; turn out on November 7th and let that voice be Craig Hanrahan's. We have an opportunity to put an honest, hard-working individual into this important position. Craig will be someone who will speak up for the farmers, ranchers, students, and other residents of our area. Given the chance, I believe Craig can do a great deal for the people of District 27.


/s/ Vonda K. Hamill

Vonda Hamill

Milesville, SD


Dear Editor,

Why vote yes on Ref. Law 6? After 33 years we know much more about fetal development as well as the affects of abortion on women. The heart starts beating at 18-21 days and all body systems are working at 40-42 days after conception. At 10 weeks the baby jumps up and down in the mother's womb. To deny that this is life is ludicrous. We turn our faces from it and pretend the holocaust, 47 million deaths, is just not happening.

Because of technology, we know what abortion is. Have you seen how an abortion is performed? The two main methods are inhuman. When women become aware of what they have done, they live out a life sentence with the knowledge that they ended the life of another human being. How is this "healthy" for women?

A picture is worth a thousand words, but an ultrasound is worth a million. Interestingly,in a study of 200 women who became pregnant due to rape, none regretted giving birth (life). Since August 26, emergency contraception is easily accessible to prevent pregnancy.

The exception for an abortion is a life threatening health issue.

This is not the dark ages. It's time to wake up and face the hard truth about what we are doing as a state and a nation. I am not post-abortive, just a lover of life and a protector of the innocent. When I found out the facts about what abortion truly is, I could keep silent no more and I can't believe this wouldn't be the position of all good South Dakotans as well. Please be educated and responsible.

Vote yes of 6, the last issue on the ballot, on May 7.

/s/ Sandy Rhoden

Sandy Rhoden

Union Center, SD