Attorney general talks sex trafficking, guns during Q&A session on campus

Attorney General of South Dakota Marty Jackley held a Q&A session with students about politics, his positions and other South Dakota-related events on Wednesday, Aug. 26.


Two Students’ Association members invited Jackley to speak to South Dakota State students.


Jackley, who was a former partner at a Rapid City law firm, decided that his good pay and good house looking over the Canyon Lake was not quite enough.


“I was missing public service,” he said.


Formerly a partner at Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson and Ashmore in Rapid City, Jackley first moved to the position of U.S. attorney for South Dakota in 2006 before assuming his current position as attorney general in 2009.


Jackley was appointed by former President George W. Bush.


In his introduction, Jackley said he is passionate about his position and his mission for South Dakota.


“Much of what I do is fight for state rights and keep the power to you as individuals,” he said.


Below are questions and answers taken from the session on Wednesday night.


Q: What do you do on a daily basis that involves political ties?


Jackley said he has remained interested in the prosecution side of his position, but spends a lot of his time on the criminal justice side of things. This requires a sizeable amount of media attention, especially with national lawsuits. He also said that working with the legislature becomes very political.


Q: Does the legal system pit lawyers against lawyers when trying to “win” cases?


“I don’t necessarily look at it as a competition,” Jackley said.


Good defense lawyers keep him honest and from making mistakes in the prosecution, Jackley responded. Good lawyers are supposed to be “zealous advocates” for their clients and prove their innocence through the state. On the other side, Jackley also said the prosecutor represents the state, including the victim, and must keep that in mind while working a case.


Q: How do you decide if the attorney general’s office or the U.S. attorney general handles sex trafficking cases?


Jackley said the attorney general’s office has developed a process of catching predators. They do this by posting advertisements and setting up meeting times and locations for potential predators. He noted that he has seen 29 arrests for the crime and 28 people charged through this method.


In deciding which office takes charge of sex trafficking cases, Jackley said any case that involves a predator crossing state borders to make the deal would be given to the U.S. attorney general.


Jackley also touched on how, a site which hosts advertisements for sex trafficking, is immune to prosecution because of the law. Jackley said 49 out of the 50 attorney generals in the United States have written to Congress to prosecute the site, but have been shot down.


Other topics discussed:


Jackley also touched on a few other topics during his Q&A session. One of which involves guns on campus. He said that gun control will be a hot topic in the upcoming legislative session. There were nine bills in the last session involving guns in the state.


“There wasn’t an appetite last season,” he said in regards to last year’s legislative session.


Jackley also discussed his support for medical marijuana, but has three conditions. One, it must be FDA-approved. Two, it must be a South Dakota physician who prescribes the drug. And three, it must be a South Dakota pharmacist who dispenses the medical marijuana.


Jackley briefly touched on the situation in Flandreau. He said non-Native Americans using marijuana could be dangerous because of impaired driving and the risk of children gaining access to the drug. There needs to be better structure, Jackley said.