Congressman Found Guilty of Manslaughter
Janklow Says He’ll Resign
FLANDREAU, S.D. (Dec. 9) – Rep. Bill Janklow planned the official close of his political career to coincide with his sentencing in the traffic death of a motorcyclist, a decision that also means the special election to fill his seat will be held during South Dakota’s June 1 primary.
Janklow, a dominating force in South Dakota politics for 30 years, appeared stunned as the verdict was read Monday: guilty of second-degree manslaughter, reckless driving, running a stop sign and speeding for an Aug. 16 crash that killed Hardwick, Minn., motorcyclist Randy Scott, 55.
Within two hours, Janklow announced his resignation.
”I wish to inform you that because of present circumstances, I will be unable to perform the duties incumbent on me in representing the people of South Dakota as their U.S. representative,” Janklow, 64, wrote in a letter to be delivered Tuesday to House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
”Therefore I wish to inform you that I will resign from the House of Representatives, effective Jan. 20, 2004.”
That’s the same day he’s scheduled to be sentenced.
Second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The conviction would have prompted an investigation from the U.S. House ethics committee without the resignation.
Jim and Dorothy Anderson of Miller said Janklow did the right thing in resigning. They, like many others who reacted to Janklow’s convictions, doubt he will spend any time in prison.
Dorothy Anderson said she thinks Gov. Mike Rounds should pardon Janklow because he has been publicly disgraced and that is punishment enough.
”I think Governor Rounds should pardon him because he didn’t go out and deliberately do this,” she said. ”Things can happen. That’s why they’re called accidents.”
No, an accident is when you spill a glass of milk. Public Disgrace? Who gives a rats ass. The guy killed someone in the process of breaking the law. He deserved to be prosecuted and sentenced just like everyone else.