Wednesday, November 8, 2006

SD Judicial Accountability Measure Defeated

Amendment E, a measure that would have created a private cause of action against judges for their decisions, appears to have failed in South Dakota, 89% to 11% according to early returns. Judicial accountability amendment crushed, Rapid City Journal, Nov. 8, 2006. Here is the state attorney general's summary from the 2006 Ballot Questions booklet (p. 4):

Citizens serving on juries, school boards, city councils, county commissions, or in similar capacities, and prosecutors and judges, are all required to make judicial decisions. Their decisions may be reversed on appeal, or they may be removed from office for misconduct or by election. However, they cannot be made to pay money damages for making such decisions. This allows them to do their job without fear of threat or reprisal from either side.

The proposed amendment to the State Constitution would allow thirteen special grand jurors to expose these decision makers to fines and jail, and strip them of public insurance coverage and up to one-half of their retirement benefits, for making decisions which break rules defined by the special grand jurors. Special grand jurors are drawn from those who submit their names and registered voters.

The proposed amendment is retroactive. The special grand jurors may penalize any decision-maker still alive for decisions made many years ago.
The measure was backed by J.A.I.L. 4 Judges (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law), whose founder, Ron Branson, drafted a similar measure for California.

1 comment:

David H. said...

Justice O'Connor should be pleased to hear this result. She expressed concern about the Jail 4 Judges movement in her speech at the University of Washington.