A jury in Flandreau, South Dakota today found Representative and former Governor Bill Janklow guilty of felony manslaughter, a charge that carries a maximum ten-year prison term. While evidence of the many speeding tickets Janklow has received over the years was excluded, I suspect that a key factor in the verdict was the jurors’ knowledge of Janklow’s terrible driving habits. Janklow has long been notorious for disregarding–proudly, it sometimes seemed–traffic statutes. It caught up with him when he ran a rural stop sign and killed a motorcyclist.
It seems likely that Janklow will resign from his House seat, although nothing requires him to do so. House ethics rules prohibit him from voting until the verdict is reversed or he is re-elected. It is doubtful that the House would expel Janklow between now and next November. So he could possibly hang on as a lame duck until then.
If there is a special election, the Democrats might pick up a seat.
UPDATE: Janklow has resigned.
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