Mark Barnett is now honorable again.

I got a call when I was at a conference noting that former AG (and current Deputy AG) Mark Barnett was announced to a judgeship today. I got home and verified it, finding it on the State's website just now. So, from the announcement:
Gov. Mike Rounds announced today the appointment of Mark Barnett of Pierre as judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of South Dakota.

Barnett is currently Chief Deputy Attorney General of South Dakota. Prior to that, he spent nine years in private practice, served as Hughes County State’s Attorney and was elected to three terms as Attorney General.

“I am deeply honored by this news, and very grateful to Governor Rounds for placing trust in me,” said Barnett. “I will do everything I can to serve the public in a fair and efficient way.”

Barnett has been involved in high profile cases since 1981. He has argued and won two reversals in civil cases in the United States Supreme Court. He was the lead prosecutor on two death penalty cases, including the case against serial killer Robert Leroy Anderson. His most recent jury trial ended in a conviction of a Pierre man who murdered his wife and who then tried to frame his own 12-year-old daughter.

Barnett lives in Pierre with his wife, Deb, and their two sons, John and Jim. He will begin his tenure on the bench beginning June 18th.
For the man known as "the honorable" in his former title, now we can all consider him "the honorable" again. Congratulations Mark!


Anonymous said…
This is very deserved. Mark is a class act and fine attorney. He will make an excellent judge: strong but fair.
Anonymous said…
Congrats to Mark!

I just wish Miss P. Hilton could go before him!

I heard on the new from Judge Judy that she would be locked up in the jail if it was her call! I only wish i could quote her and no I'm not going to look up the quote, sorry.

O and congrats to Sean O'Brien too for his judgeship!
Anonymous said…
What's the "but" all about?

That makes it a lie, (just so you know.)

Never, EVER use the word "but" in politics.

It negates what you said in front of it.

Better to say "strong AND fair."

Geeze, do us Libertarians have to teach you Repubs everything?

No wonder you're all standing around with your dicks in your hands these days.

You've forgotten how to use the language ever since Rove threw in the towel.

Anonymous said…
Who will be the Deputy?
PP said…
I suspect it will be Charlie McGuigan.
Anonymous said…
Charlie might be busy with his job working for all the other western states' Attorney's General for a while, but regardless of who's the next Deputy, congrats to Mark.

PP, was it a Blogger Conference?
Anonymous said…
Are they grooming Charlie to be the next AG?
Anonymous said…
Barnett used to be a states attorney. Long was also a prosecutor from way back.

so easy money says this. long will pick a deputy that has street creds, meaning, knows how to catch bad guys in court.

that is what the public expects, and rightly so.
Anonymous said…
I just wish he would have been Governor - Congrats Mark - and I too wish Paris could have gone before you.
Anonymous said…
Congrats Mark. Well deserved and glad to see things worked out. You'll be a great judge.
Anonymous said…
It's no surprise Barnett is the new 6th circuit judge. The vacancy was created especially for him when Larry Long convinced Judge Max Gors to vacate his judgeship and come work for the department of corrections.

Next, Barnett will be promoted to the supreme court when Justice Sabers faces mandatory retirement at the end of 2008.
Anonymous said…
it is an alien plot to take over the world. The Ancient Ones from the planet Delusia, have taken human forms and are infiltrating positions of great power, like local judge.

soon their space cruisers will arrive. watch the skies!
Anonymous said…

small fyi.

Long is AG; he doesn't run corrections. That outfit is run by Rounds. Different elected official.

(but with all the agencies in that town, it is hard to keep them sorted out.)
Anonymous said…
Yet again Anita Fuoss denied. Damn.
Anonymous said…
7:17, no Larry Long doesn't run DOC, but he did grease the wheels for Barnett.
Lee Schoenbeck said…
or - years of legal skill and ability, proven on the courtroom battlefield "greased the wheels" - did you consider that?

Congrats Mark
Anonymous said…
There was no judgeship available in Pierre, but for Larry Long's doing. Even Lee Schoenbeck knows that.
PP said…
Knowing both sides of it, there is an incredible amount of vetting that goes into judicial appointments.

That's why you'd never see certain people even get past the first cut. Every skeleton in your closet is laid bare, and it's not just your parent or best friend who they might ask about your character.

They go to your colleagues, and random other attorneys whom you didn't list as references. They're all asked about you.

Mark got it because he's a good prosecutor, and a good attorney. Disagreeing with his political preference isn't a good enough reason - not by a long shot - to cast stones at his appointment.

If no one has noticed, some of his proteges had previously risen to the rank, such as Judge Kern.

It was well deserved, and we will be well served by having him in the position.
Anonymous said…
Fitzgerald next AG
Anonymous said…
Nobody has cast any stones about Barnett's qualifications for the job. He'd clearly be the most qualified candidate for any judgeship he applied for.

Commenters have merely noted that an opening was created for him, which nobody has disputed.
Anonymous said…
Lance Russell for Deputy? Or will he wait until 2010.
Anonymous said…
He's deputy Barney Fife already - no waiting.
Anonymous said…
Congratulations, Mark - we are thrilled for you. We know you will be a fair and wise decision maker....and tough. This is a great step forward for all South Dakotan's....Mary Jean Jensen
Anonymous said…
There WILL be a vacancy on the Supreme Court next year, because Justice Sabers reaches the mandatory retirement age. However, Barnett cannot replace Justice Sabers on the supreme court. We are required to have one justice from each of five districts - Justice Sabers district is Minnehaha County.

Just to answer two things that will inevitably come up:
1 - Although they are selected from districts, they are all subject to a statewide vote for retention
2 - A justice is allowed to move from his home to Pierre but continue to represent the old hometown. Chief Justice Gilbertson represents Sisseton although he moved to Pierre - that is why Justices Zinter and Gilbertson both live in Pierre.
3 - Justice Meierhenry lives in Lincoln County - that is why there are two justices who live in Sioux Falls.

My point is - when Justice Sabers retires next year, his replacement will have to be someone from Minnehaha County.
Anonymous said…
Do you have a citation to this rule, anon 2:55?
scimitar said…
2:55, what you either failed to mention or didn't know is that it has also become commonplace to appoint people from elsewhere to serve as judge. For instance, Judge Severson was living in Huron when he was appointed to a Sioux Falls judgeship. He then moved to Sioux Falls.

Mark Barnett is a Sioux Falls native, so it would not be surprising for him to take the Supreme Court seat representing the 2nd SCT Circuit (Minnehaha/ Lincoln Counties). And as you mentioned, he could continue to live in his Pierre home as long as he were to retain ties to the 2nd Circuit.
Anonymous said…
State constitution, Article 5 sec 2 "All justices shall be selected from compact districts established by the Legislature, and each district shall have one justice."

SDCL 16-1-1. "Supreme Court districts. The state is divided into five Supreme Court districts from each of which a justice shall be selected as follows:" (there follows a list of the counties within each district)

Scimitar - that is true for CIRCUIT judges. It is not true for Supreme Court justices within the state. If what you said is true, it would render the constitutional and statutory requirement meaningless. It was Chief Justice Gilbertson himself who explained this in answer to a question when he was speaking to my class.

The only way that I could see Barnett could take that seat would be if he "moved" to Sioux Falls so that he would live in the correct district at the time of the appointment. Obviously, that would subvert the purpose of the requirement and might be met with resistance, but stranger things have happened.
Anonymous said…
Article V, § 6 of the South Dakota Constitution states in part:

Justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the circuit courts and persons presiding over the courts of limited jurisdiction must be citizens of the United States, residents of the state of South Dakota and voting residents within the district, circuit or jurisdiction from which they are elected or appointed.
The South Dakota Supreme Court has decided (in the case of Cummings v Mickelson) that "The phrase “from which they are elected or appointed” construed in light of the old provisions and the mischief sought to be remedied, means that a judge must be a resident of the circuit from which he or she is elected or appointed, but that he or she need only be a resident from that circuit at the time of election or at the time of appointment." The conclusion: the Governor may appoint a Supreme Court Justice from anywhere in the state as long as that person has established residency in the circuit where the appointment is made at the time of appointment. Applicants for the Sabers position will all have a post office box in Minnehaha county when they apply just in case they get the appointment.
Anonymous said…
This is great news. Mark has worked hard for the people of South Dakota for many years and knows the courtroom like few others. He's seen some of the scum of the earth try to weasel their way out of their crimes (Robert Leroy Anderson and Brad Reay come to mind) and I know he'll be able to weed through all the lies to get to the truth in each case. I wish him well.

Good luck, Barney
Anonymous said…
Seems to me this story is not about barnett. Local judges are no big deal.

The story here is that Rounds, having defeated Barnett in the primary, was still willing to appoint him to.... anything. barnett is qualified, but cmon...he was the opponent. Rounds must be one of the least vindictive elected types we have seen.

did janklow ever appoint any of his numerous opponents? miller? daschle? pressler? name any other politician who ever did this.

i will shut up if any one blogger can name any one statewide politician who ever did this (in SD) before.

and that is the story line for this deal. A non-vengeful politician. who woulda thunk?

i look forward to being corrected by the historians.
Anonymous said…
10:17 - if Rounds is the least vindictive Governor, then why does he always put Kirby in the last group of the Governor's Hunt?
Anonymous said…
Because an ass should bring up the rear.
Anonymous said…
Was that a "pun" intended?

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