Last March, I focused on a lot of different things when writing in this space about Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, the car accident that he was involved in that allegedly took the life of a man walking along a highway and the actions of the governor.
Gov. Kristi Noem, I argued, went beyond her authority in dealing with this issue. She disregarded basic tenets of our justice system when she called on Ravnsborg to resign and with her actions of releasing recordings and documents that normally aren’t released in a somewhat early stage of an investigation.
I noted back in March that what we all knew at that time was that carelessness on Ravnsborg’s part was the likely cause of his car moving into the shoulder of the highway and striking and killing Mr. Joseph Boever last September.
Last March, Ravnsborg had not entered a plea. It was unknown back then whether he planned to plead guilty to the charges or have his day in court.
Today, we know. Today, our attorney general decided to avoid a trial and take a plea deal for misdemeanor traffic charges. You can read more about that in a story elsewhere in today’s issue of the Plain Talk.
Last March, Ravnsborg had indicated that he didn’t plan to resign from office. He insisted that he can continue performing the duties of his office despite facing the traffic charges and impeachment in the Legislature.
As I write this, he is not responding to the media's request for comment.
I argued last March that it would be best if Ravnsborg had resigned from office immediately after the accident.
That opinion hasn’t changed.
It is also a time to remind ourselves that our governor had no business getting involved in this. She should have kept her mouth shut. She should not have made the videos public.
Fortunately, a judge stopped her from releasing further information. He ordered that the videos be taken down from the state Department of Public Safety’s website.
Justice was not served by our governor’s actions, but it was served today. There likely will be observations all over social media that Ravnsborg should have received stiffer charges.
As I noted last year, traffic accidents are bizarre things.
Commenters on Facebook back then speculated that Ravnsborg must have been drinking, he must have been speeding, he must have purposely known that he had struck a man, not a deer, and had driven off so that he could sober up before Mr. Boever’s body was found.
I also read comments in September stating that the attorney general should be arrested and in jail already and that the only reason he’s not is that he’s part of the Pierre power structure and will naturally receive much gentler treatment than you or I would receive.
I understand all of that, along with the pain being felt by family and friends of Mr. Boever right now who mourn not only his death, but the peculiar way his life ended.
All I know is what I learned a bit over a decade ago after losing a loved one in a traffic accident. Accidents are a constant, certain part of all our lives each and every day.
They are events that occur without apparent or deliberate cause. Most of the time, fortunately, they’re little, annoying things. Spilling your coffee on your computer keyboard – that sort of thing.
Sadly, however, they can be tragic and strike with such precision that they are hard to accept.
It’s easy to forget, especially after learning some of what appear to be outrageous circumstances, that what happened involving our attorney general was a terrible accident. It has and still is, I’m sure, causing pain and sorrow and guilt and a host of other things that combined produce suffering in the purest form.
Today, Ravnsborg agreed to a plea deal. Today, he hopefully will realize that his job of serving us as attorney general has been greatly compromised for approximately a year now.
After today, it’s difficult to imagine him being able to do the job we elected him to do.
He should resign.