Widow of Man Killed by South Dakota AG Wants Records Private

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
August 12, 2021US News
Widow of Man Killed by South Dakota AG Wants Records Private
In this photo, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, joined by a bipartisan group of state attorneys general, speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. Sept. 9, 2019,(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

PIERRE, S.D.—The widow of a man struck and killed on a South Dakota highway by the state’s attorney general is attempting to block the release of her husband’s mental health records.

A judge recently ordered several hospitals and clinics to provide records about Joe Boever’s psychiatric state. The order from retired Circuit Court Judge John Brown came after a lawyer for Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg alleged in court documents that Boever’s Sept. 12 death may have been a suicide.

Brown was to review the records before deciding whether any of the information is relevant to Ravnsborg’s upcoming trial.

Jenny Boever argues that she has a substantial right to privacy under the South Dakota Constitution.

“The records sought by the Attorney General have a high likelihood of disclosing sensitive details about Jenny,” her attorney, Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls, wrote in a letter to the judge that was publicly filed Tuesday.

Heidepriem’s letter asks that the records receive “the utmost protection” against disclosure, KELO-TV reported.

Ravnsborg’s trial on three misdemeanor driving offenses begins in Stanley County on Aug. 26. He is charged with operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, illegal lane change, and careless driving. His guilt or innocence will be up to Brown. Neither side requested a jury trial.

Investigators say Ravnsborg was distracted and swerved out of his lane when he was driving on Highway 14 near Highmore when he struck and killed Boever, 55, who was walking along the highway with a flashlight. Ravnsborg told a dispatcher he thought he hit a deer. Boever’s body was discovered the following day.

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