South Dakota Criminal Records
In a criminal trial, it is the judges who hand down sentences. However, if you want to clear up your South Dakota criminal records, judges are not the people you would want to approach. In South Dakota, the governor is the only one who has the power to clear up a person’s criminal records.
Clearing Up your South Dakota Criminal Records – The Process
The process of clearing up your South Dakota criminal records begins with the Board of Pardons and Paroles. However, you also have the option of going directly to the governor. You can make a request or send out a letter to his office to jumpstart the process.
“The pardoning power is all with the executive branch,” said Minnehaha County Circuit Judge Gene Paul Kean. “Once you sentence somebody and pass them on to the executive branch… the court loses control over that person.”
From July through December of 2002, 23 applications for South Dakota criminal records clearance were made. According to Michael Winder, policy and information specialist for the South Dakota Department of Corrections, the parole board considered all 23 applications and recommended granting 12. The number has lessened compared to the number of applications received by the parole board in 2000. There were 117 applications for South Dakota criminal records clearance and 64 were recommended for approval by the board.
However, even though the board made recommendations, the governor has the final say and is not bound by any recommendation made. This was what Winder said in an interview.
An estimate of 60 pardons was made by Gov. Bill Janklow in 2002. All these were done without involvement from the board of paroles. The exact number is not known because state law provides that the pardons be sealed.
Aside from South Dakota criminal records pardons, there is another way for a convicted felon to get out of prison before completion of his sentence. The procedure is known as commutation and it involves cutting a prison term from its original length. This is done by either freeing a person or allowing for the possibility of parole.
The same process applies. The applicant may request for commutation through the board of paroles or go directly to the governor.
Removing Conviction from South Dakota Criminal Records
Under state law, a convicted felon loses the right to possess or own a firearm, to vote, to hold public office, to serve on a jury and to possess a police scanner, and others. And these, along with a variety of other reasons, are the purposes why a convicted felon might want to clear a conviction from his South Dakota criminal records.