Terra Eagle Feather, right, sits with a South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles staffer prior to a hearing on her pardon request, at the Jameson Annex of the South Dakota State Penitentiary on March 15, 2023. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)
This story is an update to an earlier, three-part report on executive clemency:
The South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office has released 28 additional pardons signed by Gov. Kristi Noem since 2019.
Earlier this year, the office released 200 of Noem’s pardons in response to a records request from South Dakota Searchlight.
It’s unknown why the additional pardons were not in the first batch. Deputy Secretary of State Tom Deadrick said his office had no comment on how or why the new records were discovered.
The secretary of state keeps records of each governor’s pardons for five years, after which the records are sealed.
The new records were sent on April 11, days after the publication of a South Dakota Searchlight report on Noem’s pardons and commutations.
An analysis of the new batch of records revealed the 28 additional pardons were granted in 2019, 2021 and 2022. All but two were signed in batches on the following dates: Nov. 26, 2019, Sept. 10, 2021, and March 10, 2023. One was signed on Sept. 9, 2021, another on Sept. 15, 2021.
The latter was one of three pardons issued less than five years from the date of sentencing, which is the amount of time the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles typically asks a person to wait before requesting a pardon.
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The crimes pardoned less than five years from the date of the sentence were (ages current):
- Petty theft 2nd degree, $400 or less in Davison County, issued in 2021 to a 26-year-old woman sentenced in September 2018.
- Driving under the influence, first offense in Brookings County, issued last July to a 31-year-old woman sentenced in February 2018.
- Criminal entry of a motor vehicle in Minnehaha County, issued in 2021 to a 35-year-old man sentenced in October 2017.
The Board of Pardons and Paroles has sent several favorable recommendations for pardons to Gov. Noem so far in 2023. The board can recommend pardons, but only the governor can sign and finalize them, an act that can clear crimes from the pardoned person’s record.
Last week, the board recommended pardons for four people.
Here are the 228 pardons:2019-2023 Pardons
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