Janklow appears in court

FLANDREAU, S.D. - Rep. William Janklow, R-S.D. was charged with one felony count and three misdemeanors in the death of a rural Minnesota man, the result of a traffic accident Aug. 16.

Janklow was not charged until Aug. 29 and even after his first court appearance on Sept. 2 he was not booked by police - not photographed or finger printed, that will come at a later time, Moody County Sheriff Jerry Hoffman said.

Janklow appeared in court with his family and attorneys. He was noticeably weak as he climbed the stairs, according to people who attended. He is recovering from head injuries and a broken wrist from the accident.

He did not speak, but his attorneys requested a preliminary hearing that was set for Sept. 25 and 26 to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed in court. He was released on his own recognizance and was not required to enter a plea until a later date.

Janklow was charged with 2nd Degree Manslaughter, a felony; reckless driving, speeding and running a stop sign, misdemeanors. If convicted of the felony he could spend up to 10 years in prison and be fined $10,000.

He was the driver of the 1995 Cadillac that was traveling at a speed of at least 71 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, ran a stop sign and was hit by a motorcycle driven by Randolph Scott of Hardwick, Minn. Scott was pronounced dead at the scene.

Scott was a Vietnam veteran, farmer, trucking business owner and volunteer firefighter.

Janklow, who will turn 64 on Sept. 13, served four, four-year terms as governor of South Dakota and four years as Attorney General.

While in office he was considered by many to be the nemesis of Indian country with policies and decisions that worked against the members of the nine reservations in the state.

He was directly involved as Attorney General, although not within his jurisdiction in the 1973 and 1975 incidents at Wounded Knee and in Oglala with the killing of two FBI agents. He brought in state agents with loaded guns to Oglala in 1975, according to witnesses.

He has also been accused of rape on the Rosebud Reservation of a young woman whose mother was found dead in a farm field in Nebraska. He has denied all allegations. He was also disbarred from practicing law on Rosebud, where he worked as a public defender from 1966 - 1973.

Ed Evans, Janklow's attorney on Sept. 2 did all the talking and requested the preliminary hearing on two of the counts, the manslaughter and reckless driving charges, the most serious of the four. Evans will be allowed to cross-examine witnesses during the preliminary hearing.

Bill Ellingson, the state attorney who filed the charges can still call a grand jury to review the evidence and issue an indictment, which would preclude the need for a preliminary hearing, however, he did not give any indication that he would do so.

The charges against Janklow are weighing heavily on his political career. Letters to editors of regional newspapers show that people lean toward requesting his resignation. Although at the courthouse on Sept. 2 his supporters were present and they actually yelled at the media saying they had no purpose at the courthouse.

When Ellingson filed the charges against Janklow he said that other factors, not just the death played into his decision to request the felony charges against Janklow. He did not elaborate on what those factors were.

Janklow has not considered resignation, according to family friends and his son Russell. However, should he be convicted of a felony, the House ethics committee would immediately consider his case and recommend action. If he is sentenced to two years in prison he would lose his voting privileges for that period.

Should Janklow be asked to resign, he could run for re-election and if elected any possible conviction would not be a factor, according to ethics committee rules. Both political parties are working behind the scenes in an effort to fill the void in case of a resignation, but neither are saying anything publicly about candidates to replace Janklow.

Should he resign, Gov. Mike Rounds would have to set a time for an election within three months of the resignation. Democratic candidate in 2002, Stephanie Herseth, who ran a close race against Janklow is said to be the Democratic front runner for the positions, should it become open, according to political analysts in the state.

Janklow was thought to be in a position to run against Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D. in 2004.