Senator Jankow to Be Sentenced Today.

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SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (AP) -- It started last summer when a man who witnessed a Cadillac collide with a motorcycle said he talked to then-Rep. Bill Janklow at the scene.

The next morning, the Highway Patrol confirmed that the former governor and state attorney general was driving the car and had been injured. The rider of the Harley-Davidson, 55-year-old Randy Scott, was killed instantly.

Now, five months after the August 16 crash, the 64-year-old Janklow is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in his boyhood hometown of Flandreau. His resignation from Congress took effect Tuesday.

Janklow was convicted December 8 of second-degree manslaughter, speeding and running a stop sign, and reckless driving.

South Dakota does not require minimum sentences, so the judge's discretion ranges from no time behind bars and no fines up to a total of 10 years in prison for the manslaughter count, 14 months in jail for the lesser counts and $11,400 in fines. Judge Rodney Steele also could require restitution or community service or set other special conditions.

Whatever the sentence, the judge likely will rely heavily on a presentence report that includes facts on every aspect of Janklow's life, his driving record and comments from the Scott family.

In Janklow's case, the document likely will include a report prepared for his trial but not entered into evidence that shows when he was stopped for speeding but not ticketed. That report was sealed.

An Associated Press review of South Dakota court records shows most people convicted of second-degree manslaughter get at least some time behind bars. Forty people have been found guilty of second-degree manslaughter since 1989, according to computerized court-system data. A review shows that 32 of those people were sent to prison or jail.

The average jail term was six months, and the average prison term was nearly seven years. About half of the convictions involved traffic accidents.

Janklow was state attorney general and, later, governor on and off beginning in the 1970s, before being elected in 2002 to South Dakota's lone House seat. The seat will remain open until a June 1 election.

The motorcyclist's family is suing the former politician for unspecified damages.
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George Obradovich
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