Ex-deputy U.S. marshal sentenced for child porn

Michael David Rivera, age 30, received a federal sentence of seven years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, Wednesday from U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson. Rivera pleaded guilty Jan. 26 to receipt of images depicting the sexual exploitation of minors.

He also was ordered to pay $100 to the federal crime victims fund and $2,500 to the domestic trafficking victims fund.

The office of the U.S. attorney for the district of South Dakota, Randy Seiler, handled the prosecution after North Dakota’s office recused itself. Rivera was a deputy U.S. marshal who worked at the federal courthouse in Bismarck when he was arrested in June 2016.

Law enforcement officers had learned that Rivera allegedly was tape-recording women in stages of undress in fitting rooms and other spots in stores. After obtaining a search warrant for his apartment, vehicle and his person, law enforcement found 36 images of child pornography on his computer. They also found 52 videos of child pornography.

“The internet was used by Rivera to access visual depictions of minors engaging in
sexually explicit conduct,” according to the statement issued Thursday morning from Seiler’s office.

Seven receive federal sentences

Seven people received federal prison sentences from U.S. district judges in South Dakota in recent days.

Daniel Hess, 44, of Paramount, California, received 20 years in prison for assault with intent to commit murder and 10 years in prison for assault resulting in serious bodily injury May 15 from U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken.

The judge also ordered three years of supervised release to follow for each crime. Hess, Phyllis Lucero and Seth Hernandez drove to the home of a woman, 73, on Oct. 17, 2015, broke into her house, severely beat her and her adult son and robbed them.

Megan Azure, 31, of Fort Thompson received four months in custody followed by three years of supervised release for head-butting a federal officer while she was incarcerated in the Lower Brule jail.

Azure pleaded guilty Feb. 27 to assaulting, resisting and impeding a federal officer. U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange sentenced her May 15.

Arnold Eagle Bear Jr., 34, of Norris received 15 months in federal custody and five years of supervised release for failure to register as a sex offender. He originally was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor in September 2014. That required him to register as a sex offender upon his release.

Eagle Bear began supervised release on the sex conviction June 10, 2016. He initially registered but didn’t keep up his registration. A federal grand jury indicted him Aug. 16 for failure to register. He pleaded guilty March 13. Judge Lange sentenced Eagle Bear on May 15.

Martin Garreau, 23, of Rapid City received a sentence of four months in prison for escape from custody. He was serving part of a federal sentence at Community Alternatives of the Black Hills. He left without permission and failed to return.

Garreau pleaded guilty to the escape charge Feb. 3. Judge Viken sentenced him May 12.

Roger Janis, 47, of Rapid City received a sentence of 60 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for involuntary manslaughter. Janis pleaded guilty Sept. 9, 2016, to driving over a five-year-old boy at Pine Ridge while Janis was intoxicated.

Judge Viken sentenced Janis on May 12.

Corey Johnson, 31, of Mitchell received sentences of 33 months and 96 months, to run at the same time, followed by three years of supervised release, for convictions from 2015 and 2016 charges of assaulting, resisting and impeding federal officers.

Johnson pleaded guilty to both sets of charges Feb. 21, 2017. Judge Lange sentenced Johnson on May 15.

Tyree Yellow Elk, 22, of Murdo received seven years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for possession of child pornography.

Yellow Elk pleaded guilty Jan. 13, 2017. He was accused of receiving and distributing multiple images of child pornography between March 2014 and July 2016. Judge Viken sentenced him May 8.

State Board of Elections sets June 15 hearing

The South Dakota Board of Elections has scheduled a public hearing in Pierre on June 15 at 10 a.m. CT in the South Dakota Association of County Officials building at 211 E. Prospect Ave.

The list of proposed changes to state rules is long. Here they are verbatim as published Wednesday:

“Specify a 30 day deadline date for a voter to return the invalid/incomplete voter registration acknowledgment notice to provide consistency with all county auditors and comply with signed House Bill 1036 from the 2017 Legislative Session.

“Change the name of a Secondary Election to Runoff Election in the above administrative rules is
due to signed House Bills 1036 and 1037.

“Add judicial office to be listed in the notice of deadline for filing nominating petitions for the primary election which should have been included in the past.

“Due to the passage of Senate Bill 77 and House Bills 1001 & 1034 the
addition of the following language is being added to the general election ballot ‘Legislative
Research Council’s Prison/Jail Population Cost Estimate and/or Fiscal Note.’

“Additional clean up amendments to the primary and general election ballot formats to include notations for front and reverse sides, clarifying ballot printing notes, adding an option for county finance officer, and providing the format for State Representative Districts 26 & 28 A and B and new primary and general election ballot formats are being added to allow county auditor’s to purchase new ballot marking devices.

“Amending the tax levy opt-out ballot format to be used by county, municipality
or school to provide clarification on the format for those local jurisdictions.

“Create a new ballot format for capital outlay elections for school districts to provide assistance to the school district.

“Create a new ballot format for school sentinel program elections to provide assistance to the
school district.

“Create a new ballot format to assist county auditors with ballot for tax levy
ballots for maintaining repairing, constructing or reconstructing roads and bridges.

“Clarifying that a petition sheet must be printed on a self-contained sheet of paper printed front and reverse side due to passage of HB 1034.

“Amended the rule for the random sample on statewide candidates and statewide ballot measures due to passage of HB 1035 by replacing the 5% random sample requirement to a sample that is statistically correlative to not less than a 95% level of confidence with a margin of error equal to not more than 3.62%.

“Repealed two petitions for conservation district candidates and amended the third petition due to the passage of SB 78 which changed the candidates for district supervisors to run at large instead of by areas.

“Amended the application for absentee voting to add language to clarify what category of
Uniformed Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter the applicant falls under to comply with the
federal law and we also provided other language to simplify the application instructions.

“Removed language requiring an Uniformed Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter has to provide
their voting residence on the ballot return envelope as there is no state law that requires those
voters to provide that information.”

Casualties, by county, by conflict

The South Dakota Department of Veteran Affairs put out Wednesday morning a listing of dead U.S. soldiers, by name and by county, and by conflict. The department doesn’t claim the listing is complete but suggests the numbers and names are reliable.

South Dakota lost 554 in the World War I era. The number tripled to 1,722 in the World War II era. The Korea era saw 160 die. During the Vietnam era, South Dakota lost 192. The Desert Storm era, that continues today, has seen 36 die.

South Dakota had 67 counties during the Vietnam era. Today there are 66, after Washabaugh was absorbed into Jackson in 1983. Nearly every county lost at least one man during Vietnam, according to the department’s list.

Minnehaha County lost the most men, 25. Pennington County lost 17. Brown County, 13.

As state Veterans Affairs Secretary Larry Zimmerman notes in his Memorial Day column for this year, three words — duty, honor, country — form the motto for the men and women who currently serve or did serve in the U.S. armed forces.

Survey: U.S. voters’ doubts rose about U.S. president

President Donald Trump was under water, again, in the latest Politico / Morning Consult opinion survey released Wednesday morning.

He was at 50 percent disapproval and 42 percent approval. That was the widest gap since at least March for the president.

The poll looked at opinions of 2,001 registered voters May 12-14. The potential margin of error was 2 percentage points.

Somewhat related, the poll found that 27 percent of registered voters supported an investigation of U.S.-Russia ties as the top choice among more than half of a dozen possibilities. That made the U.S.-Russia investigation the No. 1 issue.

The rest of those results showed:

21 percent wanted repealing and replacing Obamacare;

14 percent wanted tax reform;

13 percent chose reforming entitlements, such as Medicaid;

11 percent picked an increase in infrastructure spending; and

6 percent want the wall between the United States and Mexico.

Regarding the American healthcare act that Republicans recently succeeded in getting through the U.S. House of Representatives on their second try, it too is under water. The survey found 38 percent approve and 45 percent disapprove.

Within those numbers is a subset that might offer an explanation for why disapproval runs so strong. It deals with expansion of Medicaid eligibility so more working adults receive government-subsidized health care. A South Dakota panel appointed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard continues to study expansion, but the governor, a Republican, and the Republican-majorities Senate and House won’t consider expansion unless it can pay its way.

The survey found 46 percent want Medicaid expansion to continue, while 32 percent want a roll-back.

USDA’s 15-year study looked at businesses’ survival

The economic research service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture put together two sets of data to better understand what happened to businesses throughout the nation from 1996 through 2011.

The results of the study led by Sarah Low suggest several trends, such as the link between survival and access to funding, and the less-obvious correlation between a manufacturing plant’s independent status and its survival. (Low calls this counter-intuitive.)

“Linking the two data sets enabled studying plant survival over a 15-year period (1996-2011) that includes two recessions and declining employment in U.S. manufacturing,” the report’s summary explains.

It’s worth some thought as South Dakota tries to swim its way out of the economic muck. The 38-page report is available here.

National drinking-water survey finds contaminants sparked a rise in concern

A national survey conducted in February for the non-profit Water Quality Association found that citizens’ concern about lead as a possible contaminant “rose significantly,” according to the association’s 2017 report.

The association represents some two dozen dues-paying manufacturers and other members of the water-treatment industry. The association conducts the survey every two years. The concern about lead is linked by the association to the situation in Flint, Michigan.

The survey, conducted online in January and February among 1,710 adults living in private households, was expected to be accurate within 2.1 percent. Among the results:

52 percent perceived federal laws regarding drinking water aren’t strict enough;

75 percent thought the responsibility for safe water lies outside their homes and with the city or other provider; and

41 percent purchased a water-filtration system for use in their homes after an alert to boil water or unsafe-water alert was issued.

Man and woman, both from Eagle Butte, are sentenced

U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange has sentenced a man and a woman, both from Eagle Butte, for distribution of a controlled substance.

Whitney Vaughn Marrowbone, age 22, received a sentence of seven months in custody followed by three years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty in February to distributing methamphetamine on two occasions in July 2016 in Eagle Butte.

Ebony Hope Justyne Cook, age 20, received a sentence of eight months in custody followed by three years of supervised release. She pleaded guilty in February to distributing methamphetamine in July 2016 in Eagle Butte.

Judge Lange issued the sentences April 24. The office of U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler announced the sentences May 10.

Eagle Butte man acquitted in federal trial

Lawrence Oakie, age 35, of Eagle Butte was found not-guilty of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, after a three-day trial in U.S. District Court earlier this month in Pierre, according to the U.S. attorney office for South Dakota.

A federal grand jury indicted him on April 13, 2016, regarding an alleged incident in August 2015 near Rosebud.

Kristin Rounds receives national TB recognition

Kristin Rounds, the tuberculosis control coordinator for the South Dakota Department of Health, has been chosen the national TB controller for 2017. The honor is the highest awarded by the National TB Controllers Association.

State Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said South Dakota’s low incidence of tuberculosis is “a direct result of her hard work” and that of South Dakota’s many partners in TB control.

“The department is fortunate to have someone with Kristin’s expertise and experience leading our tuberculosis control efforts here in South Dakota,” Malsam-Rysdon said in a news release announcing the honor.

Rounds has more than 30 years of experience in tuberculosis control. She has served on the association’s national board as a representative for low-TB states since 2014. She’s also been the association’s treasurer, a board member for low-morbidity states and a member at-large on the board.