Argus hit piece on Marty Jackley. Apparently, he’s going after the “wrong” crime?

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 8.13.34 AMThat’s was quite the “unbiased” headline, before they changed it at the Argus Leader.  They’ve changed it now, but in fact, it’s still there, if you look.

jackley hit piece

I guess I’m a little disappointed, as I was commenting as recently as this week on how I thought Jon Ellis was probably the fairest of the political reporters at the Gannett corporation’s state ad wrapper. But this piece seems unusually out of character, and reads more like a hit piece, because Ellis doesn’t like what crimes the Attorney General chooses to prosecute.

Last week, the state’s attorney general, Marty Jackley, walked up to the TV cameras, and with a steely gaze and tough-on-crime countenance, he delivered a shocking plot twist.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe had been victimized. By a couple of white guys. And Jackley, the state’s top-dog prosecutor, had the goods on them.

Jackley delivered yet another chapter in the Flandreau tribe’s marijuana story. It’s been a story marked by blundering and buffoonery. Of threats and authoritarian overreach. Of all-around jackassery.

And now Jackley was delivering the bad guys. Flanked by representatives of two of the state’s more incompetent local law enforcement agencies – I should add here they actually appeared sober – Jackley pinned the blame on a couple of marijuana executives from Colorado, where voters have ushered in a far more sensitive policy on marijuana.


Prosecutors are essential to enforcing the laws of a free society. But overzealous prosecutors can be a menace to a free society. Going into the 2018 governor’s contest, Jackley does not want to be known as Marty “Jackboots” Jackley.

Read that here.

Did I actually read a characterization regarding law enforcement officials in a county with one of South Dakota’s indian reservations with a heavy native american population, that “they actually appeared sober?”   Wow. It might not have been intended that way, but that’s not how it comes off when you read it.

This article seems almost schizophrenic as it tries to portray Jackley as being “overzealous” on crimes that Ellis doesn’t like, but not tough enough on the ones he does. The piece scolds the attorney general for prosecuting broad crimes against the state, and scolds him for not addressing the violent street crime that seems to be happening on a more frequent basis in areas like Sioux Falls area.  You know, damned if you do, but damned if you don’t.

I can’t help but wonder how the AG is supposed to prosecute or address those crimes – because the attorney general somehow has the ability to hire more police in the Sioux Falls area, or to tell the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney how to prosecute?  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to me that would be under the purview of the administration of the city of Sioux Falls to increase community policing. And would fall under the State’s Attorney how to handle his caseload. Not the AG.

In instances of local crime, to my knowledge, the local police and prosecutors have the resources of DCI, the state crime lab, and the AG at their disposal when it’s requested. It’s not their practice to see a crime, jump in and take over unbidden.  Which makes that premise of the article even more of a misfire.

I’ve heard Marty comment more than once that it’s his job to be the best prosecutor, and best lawyer for the state he can be. And the politics will work itself out. In other words, politics are not a consideration when they make a decision what to and what not to prosecute. They’re just trying to do the best job they can.

Whether the Argus Leader likes it or not.

38 Replies to “Argus hit piece on Marty Jackley. Apparently, he’s going after the “wrong” crime?”

  1. Anonymous

    Jonathan Ellis is maybe the worst reporter in the state. His snark is always the self righteous and condescending kind but he’s a reporter who never offer solutions only criticism.

    1. Anonymous

      He wrote a column which contains his opinion. It’s his job to offer criticism. And he’s 100 percent correct.

  2. Lee Schoenbeck

    I’ve always like Ellis, but calling the law enforcement agencies “incompetent” and the “sober” reference?? Not like Ellis. Just heard another family’s story yesterday, pot isn’t victimless.

    1. Pat Powers Post author

      When they arrest many of these people for robbery and the bad cries that Ellis likes, most of the time you read them recovering pot and pipes from the scene.

      I’m just saying…

    2. Anne Beal

      Sorry Lee but if somebody has a substance abuse problem we don’t blame the substance.
      It’s a plant, and It’s not like it’s leafy spurge or something really nasty, like organic kale.

  3. Pat Powers Post author

    That was the original headline.

    Now it’s “As violent crime surges across S.D., Jackley pursues pot growers”

    1. Anonymous

      The original headline was completely out of line.

      The new headline seems fair but many of us should agree with the broken windows theory. Small crimes lead to bigger crimes.

    2. Anonymous

      Thank you for the clarification…just off to the right here in the list of other blogs the headline remains on the link…

    3. Anne Beal

      At least it didn’t say he was pursuing farmers.
      Prosecuting these guys, though, is just political grandstanding at taxpayers’ expense.
      I like Marty but this is ridiculous.

      How much will it cost to press this case, & how much is likely to be recovered through fines?
      What did we get out of the prosecution of Dr Bosworth other than a lot of entertainment?

      1. Tara Volesky

        Leave the Tribe alone. How are they suppose to grow pot without getting the seeds from where ever. It’s such a waste of taxpayers money to stop the Tribes from growing hemp and pot by prosecuting marijuana experts from Colorado. Maybe the state is afraid of the Tribes making a lot of money like Colorado, which is booming. The SD Legislature needs to get their act together and legalize hemp and medical marijuana. Maybe Mr. Jackey should prosecute the pharmaceutical companies for pushing addictive drugs that kills thousands of people a year. The problem is not marijuana, it’s the laws that destroys people’s lives.

  4. Anonymous

    To say the tribe is a victim is pathetic though and that is a political calculation gone to far. Who advised him on that stupid idea and why did he listen? I like Jackley and I don’t like Ellis’ writing much but Jackley is stretching it on the victim aspect and Ellis is for legalizing drugs it seems.

  5. Anonymous

    Jackley is a good guy but I’ll say this. He has terrible political advisers around him and his political instincts are suspect.

    The tribe was a “victim”? How far did he go to get to that conclusion?

    Conflict of interest that Mickelson proposed didn’t go far enough to Jackley but he didn’t show up to work on it and make it better. Yet publicly criticized it two years later.

    He publicly supported the governors disastrous criminal justice reform when it was proposed. Now that every county law enforcement official hates it he opposes it as a bad law. It’s bankrupting counties. And letting drug addicts out.

    Criminal justice reforms that he supported make it so EB5 and Gear Up people won’t face jail time he says.

    Ellis also points out that violent crime is going up in SD and that Jackley has been AG since 2009. When Marty says that he opens himself up to questions of performance.

    I like Marty a lot but he or his advisers have taken the wrong side of a large number of issues and it makes me wonder who he will listen to when running for governor or serving as governor.

    Lack of a clear direction in opinion making is precisely what I believe is preventing him from locking up the nomination 2 years out.

    That said he should go after all of those involved in marijuana and enforce the law. The tribe was not a victim. Please.

    Jackley should win this nomination easy unless he continues to be all over the map.

  6. Anonymous

    Marty is a good man. Why would the argus even print something that calls him Jackboots? That’s just not right for a paper to do.

  7. Anonymous

    The new headline is not as bad as the first, but it is still ridiculously biased. It is the job of journalists to report the news; it is not their job to comment on it.

    In addition, all drug offenses are violent crimes because all drug users are complicit in the violence of the drug trade.

    1. Misty

      It’s an opinion piece. It is an opinion writer’s exact job to comment on the news. I can’t believe people have a hard time understanding what opinion writing is. Sad!

      1. Anonymous

        Copied from the Argus Leader’s website: “Jonathan Ellis is a reporter for the Argus Leader and a correspondent for USA Today.”

        Misty, notice the word reporter. Ellis is not identified as a “opinion writer”.

  8. Anonymous

    Marty is going to be consumed by the liberal media and his associations to the Rounds cabal. Too bad. Mickelson is even more liberal.

    1. Anonymous

      Mickelson will get a free pass from the news because they are all in SF. Mickelson is also more thoughtful than Jackley so he won’t get himself into situations like this where he’s trying to have it both ways.

      Jackley is a little like John Kerry in the I was for it before I was against it thing or else he’s just last to pile on the bandwagon all the time.

      Mickelson is aloof and moderate but he’s shrewd and knows what he believes in and stands by it. Jackley is all over the map on these issues.

      Jackley should win but he’s leaving a big opportunity for Mickelson.

      1. Anonymous

        Jackley would be an abject disaster. Total pandering to the hard right. Look at Kansas if you want to see Jackley’s South Dakota.

  9. Porter Lansing

    Most often writers don’t write their article’s headlines. JACKBOOTS JACKLEY’s JACKASSERIE? outlandish

  10. Anon

    You probably have to be half-crazy to serve as an AG, but you absolutely have to be a moron to write for the Argus.

  11. Anonymous

    Jackley’s tenure as SD Govna would be as successful as Brownback’s has been in Kansas. Nice guy, but he would be a terrible guvna.

  12. Troy Jones

    I’m still trying to figure out Ellis’ point. Kinda makes me wonder if HE was sober when he wrote the piece.

    1. Anonymous

      He’s pro marijuana. He thinks Jackley is a pandering political contortionist saying the tribe was a victim.

      Ellis is an idiot. Marty is in a strange contorted position.

  13. Anonymous

    Jon boy, is it overzealous to pursue people based upon what you think is right, moral, and beneficial to South Dakota? I guess I didn’t know that was the deal.

    I don’t buy the Argus Liar, but my wife gets the Sunday edition almost every week, mainly for the ads. I can’t stomach the rag myself.

  14. grudznick

    Young Mr. Ellis is a hack and has always been a snarky and poor reporter. He sells out to multiple factions and individuals.