SCOOP: Fall River County States Attorney Lance Russell to Run for Judge

Here's the one I couldn't write on until the candidate gave some notices to people.

Lance Russell, Fall River County States Attorney, who was just in the paper for finally getting one of the Garnier Brothers he was trying to extradite from Pine Ridge has submitted his petitions to run for Judge in the 7th Circuit (Position F) against Pete Fuller and Lara Roetzel.

Lance, a former Pennington County Republican Party Executive Director, and State GOP Executive Director, sent me the following information about his record as Fall River County States Attorney from his last election:
Lance pledged to increase the jury trial conviction rate to at least 50% in my first year. Today, it exceeds 70%.

Out of our state’s 66 counties, Fall River County tried more felony jury trials last year than 62 other counties, behind only Minnehaha, Pennington and Lawrence Counties.

For each of the past three years, His office’s expenditures were at least $38,000 less than the final year expenditures of his predecessor.

Fines collected from the prosecution of criminal activity increased from $94,989 three years ago to $160,437 last year.
This should make for an interesting race. While Fuller is the sitting Judge, I don't think he's faced election before. In this instance, it will likely place him at a disadvantage. Lance has certainly been involved in elections. In fact, across the Southern Black Hills, he's been one of the most active Republicans out there.

Unfortunately for the GOP, I think he has to give up some of his current positions with the party to run. In addition to that, he recently represented a coalition of grasslands interests recently over grasslands and prairie dog issues. His representation of those groups will come to an end as well.

This campaign is one to watch, and should turn out to be one of the most active judicial races in the state.

Congratulations Lance, and looking forward to watching your election.


Anonymous said…
Fuller is finished. This is the same guy who tried to give himself a life term in office by supporting a constitutional amendment in 2004 to end direct elections of circuit judges. Fuller scorns elections, so let's take him at his word. Either Roetzel or Russell will be far an away the better candidates.
Bonnie Russell said… that right?

I'm referring to the quote:

"Lance pledged to increase the jury trial conviction rate to at least 50% in my first year. Today, it exceeds 70%."


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the job of the Prosecutor was to Search for the Truth.

This guy sounds pretty scary.
Anonymous said…
He wouldn't go to the bother of prosecuting if he wasn't confident the guy was guilty.
Anonymous said…
Lance is a great States Attorney. I hope he considers running for Attorney General in 2010 once Larry Long is term limited. He would be outstanding! Best wishes, Lance. You're a damn good man.
Anonymous said…
At 12:22 AM, Bonnie Russell said... This guy sounds pretty scary.

What's scarier, a prosecutor trying to get criminals off the street?

Or Bill Stegmeier's crank conspiracy theories about the income tax and marriage licenses?

What's scarier, a prosecutor trying to do his job well?

Or Ron Branson's crank conspiracy theories about the NWO and his CALIFORNIA based plans for SOUTH DAKOTA.

By the way Bonnie, where are you from? Oh, that's right. CALIFORNIA.

I see you still have not addressed what PP found about all Stegmeier's REAL motivations behind Amendment E and the crank conspiracy theories.

I guess you cannot deny them because you know they are true.
Anonymous said…
It is unfortunate that the uninformed are the individuals that shout the loudest. The first point I would like to refer to is the idea of “life tenure.” If you had read the Amendment you would know that it does not give judges life tenure, but rather it creates a retention election, like we already do for our South Dakota Supreme Court Justices, rather than a political election. In addition, South Dakota has a mandatory retirement for their judges at age 70, so lifetime tenure would not be the correct classification. But I digress. If the proposed Amendment passes and the citizens are displeased with a judge, then they have the power to vote him or her out. Then the Governor will appoint a judge from a list of qualified individuals.

The Judicial Qualifications Committee provides the list of qualified applicants. The process begins with the individual’s application for the position. Then the Committee conducts a thorough review of the individual’s performance as an attorney, including, but not limited to professional and personal ethics, reputation, knowledge of the law and work ethic. The Committee also conducts a vigorous background check and puts the applicant through an intensive interview process. If the applicant satisfies the strict standards, then his or her name will be on the list of qualified individuals.

I am not award if Russell, Roetzel, or Fitzgerald has been through this process. If any of them have, I am very curious as to how they fared.
Anonymous said…
Anon 5:33, are you stupid in the head or just that uninformed?

Except for Supreme Court Justices, in SD Judges stand for election. We had a life amendment submitted this last election, and it was rejected. So we DON'T have one.

In South Dakota, judges have to run for election.

With that understanding, by your logic, we don't need JAIL now.
Anonymous said…
(a) We do NOT need JAIL.

(b) I should have said "proposed amendment" rather than amendment-- and it still wasn't a life tenure amendment (I know you are talking about Amendment E, but clearly you should read it again to see what it really was proposing in the last election). Check out Amendment A on this years ballot. Or read the article in the Journal to find out more.

(c) The SD Constitution Article V. § 7. Judicial selection. "Circuit court judges shall be elected in a nonpolitical election by the electorate of the circuit each represents for an eight-year term. A vacancy, as defined by law, in the office of a Supreme Court justice or circuit court judge, shall be filled by appointment of the Governor from one of two or more persons nominated by the judicial qualifications commission."

(d)The majority of the judges on the bench in SD today were, in fact, appointed to fill a vacancy. In the 4th Circuit, the only Judge that was not appointed is Eckrich. He ran against Moses and won. I suggest you ask several Judges whether they were initially appointed or if they ran for the position.

(e) is a good place to find out more about how our judicial system in SD actually works, the Judicial Qualifications Commission, and recent opinions regarding ethical standards in judicial elections.
Anonymous said…
Do you know how to reduce spending, get a higher jury conviction rate, and increase fines collected?

More plea deals.

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