State Legislature looks to strengthen stalking laws in reference to politicians

Could have seen this coming a mile away;

Stalking penalties could be getting stiffer for newcomers to South Dakota who have similar convictions in other states.

This winter, state lawmakers will consider whether or not South Dakota courts should be able to enhance the severity of stalking charges if the person accused has previously been convicted of stalking in a different state. 

In other areas of South Dakota criminal law, like driving while intoxicated or assault charges, state law provides language that allows out-of-state convictions to be used to justify enhanced charges.

“Like in these other areas of the law, if people are breaking that same law multiple times, then it shows that you’ve got a career criminal on our hands and society needs to be protected from those individuals,” Rep. Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids) told the Argus Leader. “This bill provides harsher punishment so hopefully it’ll keep that person from doing that again.”

More: Felony stalking charge reduced against Sioux Falls man accused of harassing mayor

Hansen said the measure stems from a recent case involving Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken and his convicted stalker, Christopher Bruce, who was found guilty on misdemeanor stalking charges after a three-day trial in 2019.

While I disagreed with The Living Man’s use of hyperbole in his written threats against the mayor, the council and his family, I still think it was just a bunch of bark with little bite, and protected by his free speech rights. I don’t think that elected officials, especially elected officials, should get special laws written for them so they can restrict free speech if they ‘think’ they are being threatened. Notice that The Living Man was not arrested until after he took on 5G in a Federal suit. I felt the arrest had to do more with repercussions for that suit. The Living Man was not able to prove that in court. But he did have this great quote;

Bruce told the Argus Leader Monday that he isn’t surprised to see his case earning attention from the State Legislature because “every time someone beats the state,” the state changes the rules. 

“This is how they get these kind of laws into place,” he said. “It’s not about our safety anymore, it’s all about protecting government officials and public servants.”

In 2014 when rabble rousers in Illinois felt their free speech rights were being violated, they got the Sheriff to arrest the politicians;

In what was one of their most epic displays of political crime-fighting, which was captured on video, Allen and Kraft held the entire Clark County Park District Board under citizen’s arrest on May 13, 2014, for violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act, a Class C misdemeanor.

When asked if there would be public comment, one of the board members said, “I vote no.” Followed by five other board members.

Deputies were dispatched to the scene, but instead, Clark County Sheriff, Jerry Parsley, personally responded that night. Parsley said he knew it was a heated situation and felt it would be best if he handled it. He said that Kraft handled the citizen’s arrest responsibly, and the board was definitely in violation of the Open Meetings Act by not allowing the public to speak.

“It’s not that they should have. They’re mandated to,” Parsley said. “The people need to have their voice. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s a democracy.”

The sheriff arrested six of the board members. The seventh board member was not arrested because he voted against the other members. As they were escorted out of the building, the crowd cheered.

This is what should happen when politicians limit our free speech rights. They seem to assert their power of arrest when they feel they are being threatened, shouldn’t we as citizens have that same right when our rights are being violated?



1 comment so far ↓

#1 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.29.20 at 3:09 pm

What if a predatory bank has received significant fines in other states due to their marketing practices? Should such fines be used to assess future requests by that bank within our state relative to statutory or regulatory requirements or procedures?

( – and Woodstock adds: “‘VSG,’ I think I know who you are talking about”…. 😉 )

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