Last summer and fall, some 46,800 South Dakotans signed the Judicial Accountability Amendment petition. You may have been one of them. If so, thank you for helping to get the Amendment on the November 2006 ballot as Amendment E!

Basically what Amendment E will do is create a “citizen’s oversight committee” with the sole purpose of hearing complaints against judges alleging judicial misconduct.

Right now, there is no effective way to hold a judge accountable should he violate a person’s rights in “his” courtroom. Amendment E will change that. A Judge SHOULD be accountable should he violate a person’s rights, either on purpose or even by mistake. And in case you think that holding a judge accountable for mistakes is a bit harsh, please keep in mind that you and I are held accountable for our mistakes. (If you accidentally sideswipe someone’s car, you will be held accountable!)

By now most of you have heard or read something about Amendment E, the Judicial Accountability Amendment. Probably what you have heard was negative.

Holding judges accountable when they violate a person’s rights in court seems to bother some people, mainly judges, lawyers and other government connected people. Why?

The SD State legislature, the State Bar, most attorneys, and the special interest lobbyists are all having fits over Amendment E. It seems that a lot of people working for or with government, from the Governor all the way down to the county commissions and even school boards have come out against Amendment E. People in government just don’t seem to want to be held accountable!

Well, we have heard their reasons for opposing judicial accountability, and we consider those reasons to be pretty lame. Accountability is nothing to fear. Accountability is the American Way.

I hope that you agree that Judges should not be above the law and that judges should be held accountable when they violate a person’s rights in court. It’s just common sense to most of us!

And now, I have some good news, and I have some bad news.

The good news is that we have learned that the South Dakota State Bar did a poll and discovered that South Dakota voters presently favor Amendment E at a rate of 3 to 1! (Those skeptical of this may verify it by calling Attorney Gary Zeran at 605-233-1257)

And now the bad news. We have also learned that the South Dakota State Bar plans to spend $1 million dollars or more to defeat Amendment E. This came right out of the minutes of their December meeting, passed on to us by our attorney who receives the Bar’s newsletter.

And what does this “$1 million dollar strategy” to defeat the Judicial Accountability Amendment consist of? Well, to put it plain and simple, lies! And it’s one lie after the next with these guys. You see, the judges, lawyers, South Dakota politicians, and the special interest lobbyists who are opposed to holding judges accountable are in a bit of a pickle. They can’t come up with even one legitimate reason why judges should not be held accountable for misconduct, so they have no choice but to resort to lying.

Their lies are designed to scare the public into opposing the Judicial Accountability Amendment. The enclosed flyer exposes some of those lies.

We need your help to spread the truth. Here’s what you can do:

  • Request “Amendment E” Flyers! Pass the flyers out to family, friends, co-workers and even to strangers you meet on the street.
  • Encourage others to get involved.
  • If you know of any businesses with either a customer waiting room or a customer service counter, ask if you can set up a small flyer display. We can send you as many plexiglas flyer displays as you can use. Just let us know.
  • Encourage everyone to make monthly donations! We will never come up with the $1 million dollars the State Bar has access to, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try!

Thanks for your support, and please share any suggestions you may have.

Bill Stegmer
Sponsor of Amendment E

What will Amendment E do?

Simply put, Amendment E will make the Judicial Branch of government answerable and accountable to an entity other than itself.

The passage of Amendment E will insure an honorable and accountable judiciary today and for future generations. Most importantly, passing the in South Dakota will inspire citizens from other states to restore integrity and accountability to the entire Judicial Branch of government. It all begins here in South Dakota — With your support!

Show YOUR support for Judicial Accountability

To find out more please contact Michael at the litigation funding company Verum. He can give you the information that you need.

“The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”
— Article VI, 27, South Dakota Constitution

We believe that you will agree and will do all in your power to support
South Dakota Amendment E.