Last week, Judge John Brown sentenced Dr. Annette Bosworth, a neophyte candidate for U.S. Senate from South Dakota, to twelve concurrent two-year prison terms . . . to be suspended provided she successfully completes three years of probation, pays the cost of her prosecution, and performs 500 hours of community service providing medical care to the poor.
Note: that final punishment is what she has been doing on her own for years, and is sort of why she is in this mess in the first place.
The case isn’t an innocent person being unjustly accused. I’ve met Annette Bosworth; I’m proud to call her a friend. But she wasn’t exactly innocent. She got bad advice and made a faulty decision to sign as the circulator of petitions when not every signature was affixed in her presence.
That’s a mistake. It shouldn’t be a felony.
The bigger issue? The over-the-top prosecution. Attorney General Marty Jackley’s heavy-handed, multi-felony approach sends a chilling message to anyone in South Dakota considering political participation.
More ominous is the apparent long-running personal feud between Jackley and Bosworth. In a statement after her sentencing, Jackley declared that Bosworth had “crossed the line of exasperation.”
But it is South Dakotans who should be exasperated with the AG: “Jackley had said before her sentencing,” the Capitol Journal reported, “that he might recommend prison time depending on Bosworth’s attitude after conviction.”
Meanwhile, State Rep. Steve Hickey, a chief Bosworth accuser, appears to have committed her same sin: signing a petition as circulator and not witnessing each signature. Jackley hasn’t bothered to investigate, but defensively told reporters, “I’ve never said that I won’t look into it.”
Tellingly, Mr. Hickey just resigned his seat in the legislature.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
- Common Sense: No Part Justice
- Townhall: One Dangerous Doctor
- Video: Paul Jacob at the Capitol in Pierre, SD
- Citizens in Charge Foundation: Report on the Prosecution of Dr. Bosworth
- Townhall: Minor Infractions, Felony Prosecution
- Common Sense: Time to Drop the Charges
- Townhall: An Egyptian Crackdown in South Dakota
- Action: Help Dr. Bosworth