The South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles hears from DOC staffer Stacy Cole on July 13, 2023, at the Jamison Annex of the South Dakota State Penitentiary. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Texas native with lengthy theft sentence earns commutation endorsement from parole board

BY: - July 13, 2023

SIOUX FALLS — A Texas native who bilked his business partners out of more than $169,000 in 2005 could walk free if Gov. Kristi Noem signs off on a commutation recommended Thursday by the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Should the governor endorse the board’s 5-2 recommendation for clemency, 60-year-old Rex Gard would be able […]

An inmate seeks a commutation recommendation from the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles on Feb. 16, 2023, at the Jameson Annex of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. The inmate is addressing Board Chair Myron Rau. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Parolee cited for exhibition driving after Noem reduces vehicular homicide sentence

BY: - April 7, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story about commutations is part of a special report on executive clemency. An additional story explores pardons, and a commentary outlines difficulties encountered in obtaining pardon records. — A man who committed vehicular homicide in the 1990s pleaded guilty to exhibition driving last summer, six months after a state board granted him […]

Court documents in the Danielle Blakney case. (Illustration by South Dakota Searchlight)

Woman pleads guilty to another crime 11 days after sentence reduction by Noem

BY: - January 5, 2023

A woman released from prison less than two weeks ago by Gov. Kristi Noem has pleaded guilty to another criminal charge that was pending while the woman was in prison. Danielle Blakney, 30, of Spearfish, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Lawrence County court to one count of simple assault. As part of a plea agreement, the […]

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks to supporters on Nov. 7, 2022, in Rapid City. (Kevin Eilbeck for South Dakota Searchlight)

Noem goes against board, victims’ families and review process to reduce prison sentences

BY: - December 30, 2022

When Gov. Kristi Noem reduced seven prisoners’ sentences recently, she overruled the Board of Pardons and Paroles in one case, went against some victims’ family members she hadn’t contacted, and may have violated her own executive order. The governor issued the sentence reductions, called “commutations,” on Christmas Eve. A news release said all seven people […]