Madetzke v. Dooley, 2018 SD 38: Habeas corpus case where Defendant had pled guilty to the second-degree robbery charge and further admitted he had been convicted of four prior felonies, however, he disputed that those felonies were violent offenses.  Defendant and the State agreed that the State would seek an enhancement under SDCL 22-7-8.1 (for nonviolent habitual criminals) rather than SDCL 22-7-8 (for violent habitual criminals)—thus making Defendant’s offense sentenced as a Class 2 felony rather than a Class C felony.  At sentencing, the trial court mistakenly informed Defendant that he would be eligible for parole after 8 years, however, that statement was made on the trial court’s belief that second-degree robbery is considered a nonviolent offense where it is actually considered a violent offense.  As a violent offense, Defendant would not be eligible for parole until he serves 13 years of his 20-year sentence.

Thereafter, Defendant petitioned for habeas corpus, arguing that his attorney was ineffective for not correcting the trial court’s error.  The Supreme Court of South Dakota affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the petition on two fronts.  First, the Supreme Court of South Dakota found that it was not objectively unreasonable for Defendant’s attorney to conclude there was no reason to correct the trial court.  Second, and more importantly, Defendant could not prove he was prejudiced as Defendant failed to place in the record any evidence that the trial court would have imposed a different sentence had the trial court known the correct statute of the conviction under the crime-of-violence statute.

Johnson v. Jackley, 2018 SD 37: Challenge to Attorney General’s explanation of a proposed measure, which was an act to “establish a prescription drug pricing law enabling a State Agency to pay the same or lower prices for prescription drugs as the prices paid by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.”  The Attorney General submitted the following statement for the proposed measure:

Title: An initiated measure establishing a cap on the price a State agency may pay for a prescription drug.

Explanation: This measure limits the amount that a State agency may pay for a prescription drug. Under the measure, a State agency may not directly or indirectly pay more for a prescription drug than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for that same drug. The measure requires the State Bureau of Administration to enact rules establishing prescription drug prices payable by State agencies.

Appellant objected to the explanation and filed a writ of certiorari to challenge it, which was denied by the trial court and subsequently appealed.  The South Dakota Supreme Court held that it was to determine whether the Attorney General’s explanation satisfies the legal requirement of SDCL 12-13-25.1, that is, whether the explanation adequately included the proposed measure’s purpose, effect, and legal consequences.  Emphasizing the Attorney General’s discretion in drafting ballot explanations, the South Dakota Supreme Court held that the Attorney General provided an adequate explanation meeting the above-referenced requirements.  In holding as much, the South Dakota Supreme Court found that the Attorney General is not required to “include every practical or possible effect of each initiated measure.”  The trial court’s denial of the appellant’s writ of certiorari was affirmed.