Last night, I wrote about the State’s Attorney election in Charles Mix County.
Incumbent Pam Hein lost to challenger Tom Deadrick, a Platte Republican and former legislator who was once the State’s Attorney in Turner County.
I noted that Deadrick was the defense attorney for Taylor Cournoyer, one of the most high-profile defendants in the county.
I also pointed out that Hein was in the lead for most of the night. With 11 of the 13 precincts in, she was up by 10 percentage points.
The last two districts handed the race back to Deadrick.
Today, he told me that those last two districts were in Platte, which would explain the big win.
He also said he’s ready to put the race behind him and work with Hein to transition into office in January.
There’s a lot to do in the county, which has a high crime rate (Hein says there are 55 cases set for jury trials in January) and presents jurisdictional challenges for law enforcement due to a checkerboard of land owned by the Yankton Sioux Tribe.
Deadrick says there’s still much to do to build trust between tribal, state and local officials. As prosecutor, he’ll be in a key position to help make that happen.
“I have to say thank you to the voters – all of them,” Deadrick said. “I ran to be the State’s Attorney for everyone in the county, and that’s what I intend to do.”
Hein called Deadrick to congratulate him on the win Wednesday morning.
She said today she’s “disappointed, obviously,” but that she intends to keep her office in Lake Andes open, return to defense work and run for the office again in four years.
What’s that, you say? The prosecutor intends to start defending clients in January?
Why, yes. That’s exactly what will happen. Deadrick made the same switch himself. Plenty of South Dakota lawyers, particularly in rural areas, switch sides.
Hein, having an intimate knowledge of the Charles Mix legal system, should be an able defense lawyer.
Then again, the same could be said of the lawyer whose office is next door to Hein’s on Main Street: Tim Whalen. Whalen held the State’s Attorney’s position not so long ago himself.