This is how you silence the opposition, pass more laws! He's banned from courthouse property? What if he has to go to court for something?
By Andrea J. Cook
A state law prohibiting convicted sex offenders from circulating petitions is being used to prosecute a Rapid City man banned from county courthouse property more than a year ago.
It also could be the first time a law passed by the 2012 Legislature prohibiting registered sex offenders from circulating petitions has been applied.
During a court hearing Tuesday, attorney Dennis Groff said he is working with the Pennington County State's Attorney's Office to resolve the charges against his client, [name withheld].
Rapid City police arrested [name withheld] 75, after he was seen collecting signatures on a Bill Clayton recall petition on April 11 at the Rapid City Public Library.
A library security officer spotted [name withheld] collecting signatures outside the library. When officers arrived, they found him seated inside the library discussing the petition, according to police reports.
[name withheld]'s arrest came four days after he was asked to leave the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center where the Youth and Family Services Kids Fair was in progress. [name withheld] was circulating a petition outside the civic center, according to police reports.
[name withheld] has contracted to circulate petitions for several years, but his aggressive approach drew complaints at the Pennington County courthouse in 2011. County commissioners barred him from circulating petitions on county property in November 2011.
At the time, [name withheld] told commissioners circulating petitions was his only source of income.
During the 2012 legislative session, several Republican legislators from Pennington County carried a bill prohibiting registered sex offenders from circulating petitions in public places or on private property. The bill became law in July.
- Silence the opposition!
Many said the law specifically targeted [name withheld], who could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
During legislative discussions on the bill, supporters stressed the importance of keeping personal information, such as addresses, out of the hands of potential predators.
According to the South Dakota Sexual Offender Registry, [name withheld] was convicted of having sexual contact with a 12-year-old girl in 1986 in Pennington County.
After his arrest in April, [name withheld] posted a $300 bond and was released from jail. He is currently charged with two Class 1 misdemeanors for illegally circulating petitions on April 7 and 11. Each charge carries a maximum potential sentence of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
SD - Sex offender accused of illegally circulating petitions