South Dakota Amendment E, the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (2006)
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South Dakota Amendment E (2006) also known as Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.), was on the November 7, 2006 ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was overwhelmingly defeated. It was an attempt to amend the South Dakota Constitution to create a 'Special Grand Jury' to hear cases of alleged judicial misconduct.
|South Dakota Amendment E (2006)|
Election Results via: South Dakota Secretary of State
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.A vote “No” will leave the Constitution as it is.
The proposed amendment is retroactive. The special grand jurors may penalize any decision-maker still alive for decisions made many years ago.
If approved, the proposed amendment will likely be challenged in court and may be declared to be in violation of the US Constitution. If so, the State may be required to pay attorneys fees and costs. A vote “Yes” will change the Constitution.
The group South Dakota Judicial Accountability worked on the effort to get Amendment E on the 2006 ballot. Some of the reasons they are in favor of the initiative include the perception that there is currently no way to hold a judge accountable should they violate someone's rights, and that there is no way to get rid of corrupt judges one at a time because the whole system is corrupt.
Opposition to Amendment E comes from various groups indicating concern that the measure is further-reaching than appropriate, and that it has the potential to result in many lawsuits against judges stemming from convicted criminals seeking retribution.
Donors to the campaign for the measure:
- South Dakota Judicial Accountability Campaign: $225,626
- Total: $225,626
Donors to the campaign against the measure:
- No on E Coalition: $1,099,049
- Total: $1,099,049
- Overall Total: $1,324,675
- South Dakota 2006 ballot measures
- List of South Dakota ballot measures
- 2006 ballot measures
- South Dakota State Senate
- South Dakota House of Representatives
- Text of Initiative Petition
- South Dakota Judicial Accountability website (Judicial Accountability, not Judicial Immunity)
- South Dakota MAINstream Coalition website (Fighting Against Extremism)
- No on Amendment E - SD Jail-4-Judges (A little attempt to derail South Dakota's 2006 Amendment E - the Judicial Accountability Act.)
- S.D. Voters Should Bury J.A.I.L. Amendment
- 2006 South Dakota Ballot Question Attorney General Explanations
- South Dakota Judicial Accountability FAQ
- South Dakota: Ballot Measure Targets Judges' Immunity ~~ YAH!!! Free Republic Blog, October 26, 2006
- South Dakota Attorney General's Explanation of Amendment E is 'Neutral and Accurate,' say National Insurance Trades, NAMIC Online, July 14, 2006
- Follow the Money, "Donors"