Trial set in Janklow case - he pleads innocent

| 9/30/2003

South Dakota Rep. Bill Janklow pleaded innocent Sept. 26 to manslaughter; the Republican former governor also pleaded innocent on three misdemeanor charges stemming from an Aug. 16 wreck that killed 55-year-old Randy Scott, The Associated Press reported.

Authorities allege Janklow was driving a Cadillac 71 mph in a 55-mph zone and had just run a stop sign at a rural intersection near Trent when he collided with Scott’s Harley-Davidson.

Trial was set for Dec. 1.

Besides second-degree manslaughter, which has a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, Janklow is charged with reckless driving, speeding and running a stop sign.

He is allowed to remain free on a personal recognizance bond.

A misdemeanor conviction would not affect Janklow's ability to serve in Congress. A felony conviction would bring an automatic investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

The committee's rules say representatives who plead guilty or are convicted of a crime that carries two or more years in prison should refrain from voting in the chamber until his or her record is cleared, or until re-elected.

Janklow's term expires at the end of next year.