Former S.D. Governor Returns to Courtroom as Lawyer in First Case Since Jail Term

The last time Bill Janklow appeared before the South Dakota Supreme Court, he asked the justices for the early return of his law license — which he had lost after his conviction of manslaughter for causing a fatal traffic crash.

He got his license back last winter, and on Monday, the former Republican congressman and four-term governor returns to the high court — this time as a practicing lawyer in a child custody case.

Janklow was the nation's longest-serving governor when he was elected to the U.S. House in November 2002. In August 2003, Janklow ran a stop sign and killed a motorcyclist.

Janklow's law license was suspended after a jury in December 2003 found him guilty of second-degree manslaughter, for which he served 100 days in jail and resigned from Congress.

In October 2005, Janklow asked the state Supreme Court for the right to practice law again. The court granted that request in January and it took effect Feb. 15, one year before his three-year probation ends.

Janklow is one of the attorneys representing a man trying to regain custody of one of his daughters after being found unintentionally negligent in the death of another daughter.

Daniel John Carlson's 14-month-old daughter died of overheating in August 2005 after he forgot to drop her off at her daycare center and left her in his parked car all day with the windows up. He was not charged criminally because he was not intentionally negligent, the local prosecutor concluded.

Carlson's ex-wife, who is American Indian, won primary custody of their other daughter in tribal court, and a state court upheld that ruling, despite her not living on a reservation.

Carlson's attorneys, including Janklow, are appealing the state court ruling. Janklow said Friday he did not want to discuss the case.