From the Argus Leader, Attorney General Marty Jackley says that the people who looted the GEAR-UP program for personal gain should go to jail.. But, it’s not quite that easy:
South Dakota’s top prosecutor wants to put someone behind bars for the state’s Gear Up scandal.
But the attorney general faces an obstacle in a 2013 state law that made it tougher to lock up nonviolent offenders without criminal histories.
South Dakota prosecutors’ efforts to take probation off the table if defendants don’t have a criminal past haven’t succeeded since the state’s Public Safety Improvement Act took effect in 2013.
The act changed state law to require that those convicted of Class 5 and 6 felonies receive probation barring “aggravating circumstances … that pose a significant risk to the public and require a departure from presumptive probation.”
The documents also include a conversation between Phelps and former Gear Up business manager Scott Westerhuis in which they agreed to run the AIII through an affiliate so that its board members wouldn’t question their activities.
“I think that all of those charges that we identified are relevant to show that this wasn’t a mistake, to show motive in relation to (those) fabrication of evidence felony indictments,” Jackley said.