Thursday, June 04, 2015

A stupid prosecution over a trivial breach

Dr. Annette Bosworth was convicted last week on twelve felony counts. She now faces as many as 24 years in prison, $48,000 in fines . . . and the likely loss of her medical license.

Her crime? She circulated six nominating petitions to get on the South Dakota ballot in 2014. Thirty-seven people signed — at her medical office and at a Hutterite colony (where she sees patients) — while she was on a medical mission to help typhoon victims in the Philippines.

Dr. Bosworth’s sister was one.

But the affidavit on the petition reads that the circulator must actually witness each person’s signature being affixed. Bosworth should not have signed it.

Hence six counts of perjury and six more, one for each false document filed.

In court, Bosworth testified that her attorney — who legally notarized the petitions — told her she met the legal definition of a circulator.

Last month, I traveled to South Dakota to release a Citizens in Charge Foundation report on this prosecution. One key finding? While the threatened penalty is the most severe any American has ever faced in a petition-related case, Dr. Bosworth submitted signatures of people she knew and who very much did support her. No forgery, no fraud . . . against the voters.

In response, the state’s largest newspaper reported that, "[Attorney General Marty] Jackley said that it’s ‘well understood in state law’ that the offenses Bosworth faces are punishable by probation and not jail time." Then after her conviction, Jackley suggested a presumption for "either no or limited actual jail time," adding, "but that presumption can be overcome by a defendant’s conduct."

Annette Bosworth should be held accountable. But aiming to ruin her life isn’t any part of justice.

Original report here

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