Judge rules Rhines’ execution can move forward next week

KELOLAND.com Original
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UPDATE: This case has been appealed to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Click here for the latest.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Judge Jon Sogn has ordered that the execution of Charles Rhines can move forward next week, according to South Dakota’s attorney general.

Sogn’s opinion came down Thursday afternoon.

The judge’s order hinges not on the substance whether the drug meets the standard of short-acting-barbiturate or ultra-short-acting-barbituate, but rather a legal principle called Res Judicata.

Basically, because another court had already looked at this issue in the past, it cannot be pursued further.

“It is highly doubtful that the real purpose of this suit is Rhines’ desire to die by the use of thiopental instead of pentobarbital as the barbiturate used in the two-drug protocol. Instead, the real purpose behind his claim is likely to see a delay of his execution,” Sogn wrote in his opinion.

Sogn wrote that in 2011, Rhines knew about this and could have brought a challenge eight years ago.

Rhines was sentenced to death on Jan. 29, 1993. He was convicted for the murder of 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer during a burglary of a Rapid City donut shop.

The execution is scheduled to happen during the week of November 3.

South Dakota’s attorney general applauds the judge’s decision to not stop the execution.

“Justice for Donnivan is long overdue,” Jason Ravnsborg said in a statement. “Our Courts have recognized the constitutionality of the state’s execution protocol for years and that was affirmed by Judge Sogn today. Rhines had his day in court. It is now time for him to serve his sentence.”

KELOLAND News has reached out to Rhines’ legal team for comment. We will update this story when we hear back.

This is a developing story.

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