The Sioux Falls Argus Leader and the South Dakota Newspaper Association are filing a second lawsuit to force the release of the petition for a special session to consider impeaching state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.
The South Dakota Supreme Court rejected the first lawsuit targeted at Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch and the South Dakota Legislative Research Council, but the paper and association argue the dismissal was based on procedure and not the merits of the case.
State Supreme Court Justice Steven Jensen wrote in his original opinion that the applicants “have a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law” to disclose the identities of the House members who signed the petition.
Ravnsborg’s car struck and killed 55-year old Joe Boever of Highmore as he walked along the shoulder of Highway 14 near Highmore at night in September of last year. Ravnsborg pleaded No-Contest to a pair of traffic violations and was ordered to pay about $4,800 in fines and costs, but received no jail time and never appeared in court himself
The special session began earlier this month with a committee of 7 Republicans and 2 Democrats reviewing the case to determine whether any of Ravnsborg’s actions justify impeachment.
If the panel drafts articles of impeachment, a simple majority of the full House would suspend the attorney general and send the impeachment to the State Senate for a trial.
It would take a 2/3rds majority or 24 senators to convict Ravnsborg and remove him from office permanently, otherwise he would immediately be restored to his duties as attorney general.