I admit it. PP is a lawbreaker

I read an article tonight at Rapidcityjournal.com with some personal interest. Because apparently I, my dad, and a couple of family friends might not have been entirely within the law with an action we took a few years back:
South Dakota law, 34-26A-24 and 34-26A-27, speak only of permission to scatter human cremains over the sea and public waterways in the state, as well as on private land by consent of the landowner. Since there is precious little ocean in South Dakota, Jay Alderman, chief deputy of the Pennington County state’s attorney civil department, said he thinks the Legislature’s intent was to allow it to be done only in streams, lakes and other public waters, not on public land. “I see no reference in statute that allows it on land,” Alderman said.

In 2000, the Legislature amended the law to make it a Class 2 misdemeanor if people fail to file, with the nearest county Register of Deeds office, a verified statement that includes the name of the deceased, the time and place of death, and the place that the ashes will be scattered.

Spokespersons in both the Lawrence County and Pennington County Register of Deeds offices could not remember anyone ever filing such a form. Alderman said that to his knowledge, no one has ever been prosecuted for failing to do so in Pennington County.
Read that all here.

I found out rather quickly that the parish priest didn't want to know what intentions we had for my mom's remains. (It must have been him covering his ears and going "LA LA LA I can't hear you.") But I had no idea that we might be contravening South Dakota law, either.

Technically, when we spread my mom's cremains, I think we might have been at the edge of a South Dakota waterway. But I guarantee you we didn't file some stupid bureaucratic form.

For those who choose to spread the ashes of their loved ones on public grounds, it's not because they just want a place to dump them. It's because those people cherished those lands, and the experiences that they had on them.

If there ever was a law that should come off of the books, this would be a great one to repeal. Why discourage people to show love for the land?


Jack Reacher said…
The whole of State guvernmint is compost of law breakers.


What goes around comes around.
Anonymous said…
Compost of law breakers? I bet that's covered under those same statutes.
PP said…
Considering that website was one of the JAIL supporters, I'm not surprised they're spelling government as if they reside in a trailer park.
Anonymous said…
If there ever was a law that should come off of the books, this would be a great one to repeal. Why discourage people to show love for the land?

Improper disposal of a dead body was a common law offense for centuries. This is a stauatory extension of that rule. Why is it a crime to improperly dispose of a dead body? Variety of reasons. Public health for one. Assurance the disposal is not to cover up a crime another.

Note that this does NOT prohibit the distribution of the ashes only that, consistent with centuries of common law and decades of statuatory criminal law, the final resting place of a body (or ashes) be determined and recorded.

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