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JASON RAVNSBORG

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Jason Ravnsborg

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg became the first constitutional officer to be impeached in all of South Dakota's history April 12, 2022, after the state's House of Representatives voted 36-31 in favor of two articles of impeachment.

He was impeached on one article for crimes in officer and another article for malfeasance in office.

The impeachment stems from a Sep. 12, 2020 crash in which Ravnsborg, while driving outside of his lane, struck and killed Joe Boever, a pedestrian walking down a highway at night, near Highmore, South Dakota.

Since the crash, Ravnsborg's driving history has revealed a multitude of tickets across jurisdictional lines, plus the fact that he has identified himself as the Attorney General, leading to warnings instead of citations.

The South Dakota Senate will meet June 21 for a two-day trial to determine if Ravnsborg's impeachment warrants removal from his office.

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On Aug. 22, a state ethics board referred a complaint to the Division of Criminal Investigations for an investigation into whether Gov. Kristi Noem had misused the state airplane. Shortly thereafter, calls began coming in for Mark Vargo, the Noem-appointed interim attorney general, to recuse himself from the investigation. On Sept. 9, Vargo obliged.
With Clay County State’s Attorney Alexis Tracy by his side, Vargo successfully argued against Ravnsborg and his counsel, Sioux Falls attorney Mike Butler and impeachment defense expert Ross Garber.
Since Tuesday's trial, his photo and biography have been removed from the South Dakota Attorney General's website.
Impeachment trial of Jason Ravnsborg lasts only a day.
The decision was publicly announced just 11 days before the South Dakota Senate will meet as a Court of Impeachment to decide Ravnsborg's fate as attorney general for the remainder of his term.
Though South Dakota's first impeachment inquiry took place against Judge Levi McGee in 1917, Jason Ravnsborg was the first constitutional officer to ever be impeached.

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After slithering free of manslaughter charges, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg — who mowed down pedestrian Joe Boever of Highmore, South Dakota, on Sept. 12, 2020 — stubbornly clings to office in the face of a June impeachment, columnist Tony Bender writes.
In a last minute letter to the House of Representatives, Ravnsborg attempted to tell lawmakers justice had been served, and that he need not be impeached. That letter is a one reason Rep. Lance Koth, R-Mitchell, changed his mind and voted to impeach.
After he was impeached Tuesday, April 12, Jason Ravnsborg issued a statement believing he’ll be “vindicated” in a Senate trial set to begin June 21.

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