State’s attorney job goes to MiskiminsHis appointment will be for two years. At the end of that time, if we wishes to remain in the job, he must run for election.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Mitchell lawyer Jim Miskimins will be Davison County’s next state’s attorney.
The announcement came at the end of the county commission’s weekly meeting Thursday at the courthouse. The meeting was moved from its regular Tuesday slot because of the election.
“It will be an interesting challenge,” Miskimins said.
His appointment will be for two years. At the end of that time, if we wishes to remain in the job, he must run for election.
As state’s attorney, he will represent the State of South Dakota in local criminal prosecutions and serve as the county’s top law enforcement official.
“I feel very excited and humbled to be appointed to this position,” he said. “I look forward to working with you.”
His appointment was approved by a 4-0 resolution of the commissioners present. Commissioner Jerry Fischer was absent.
Miskimins, who has been a part-time deputy state’s attorney since 1999, will assume the office Dec. 14, the same day current State’s Attorney Pat Smith will be sworn in as a judge in the First Judicial Circuit. Smith was appointed to the judgeship recently by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Miskimins said the full-time position will require him to “wrap up my affairs in private practice.”
A longtime Mitchell resident, Miskimins shares a law practice with attorney Jim Taylor, who also serves as a deputy state’s attorney. Details regarding their shared practice must still be worked out, Miskimins said. He said pending cases must be “put to bed” prior to Dec.14.
“The bottom line is that I’m not able to practice law, other than in my capacity for the county,” he said.
Miskimins, 49, is a 1988 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. He was admitted to the bar in April 1989 and had earlier worked as an intern for Taylor’s law firm.
He and his wife Jeanice are the parents of two daughters: Mara, 8, and Alexa, 2.
It will be Miskimins’ second stint as the county’s head legal official. He was elected state’s attorney in 1996 but resigned several months later.
“I believed at the time that the office should be part-time, and I went through a variety of efforts to bring that about, but not successfully.”
Miskimins said the demands of his private practice back then required his attention and he chose to resign.
“Things are very different today than they were then,” he said.
After Pat Smith took office in 1999, the full-time demands of the office grew steadily, Miskimins said.
Smith hired Bob O’Keefe as a full-time deputy. Miskimins also became a part-time deputy at that time, handling juvenile court matters and filling in as needed.
Miskimins said the growing caseload at the office will likely require the hiring of additional legal help.
He will be paid $71,386, an amount set by the commissioners Thursday.
“My goals are to follow in the footsteps of Pat Smith, who has put together a good team to serve Davison County,” he said.
Meeting the variety of the office’s demands will be his biggest challenge, Miskmins said. In addition to prosecuting major and minor criminal offenses, the office must also serve as the county’s legal counsel.
“Keeping all the puzzle pieces together so we can address that variety of legal needs consistently and well will probably be our biggest challenge,” he said.
Miskimins, a Republican, said he is looking beyond his two-year appointment.
“I certainly anticipate being satisfied personally and professionally to the point where I would run for re-election.”
County Commission Chairman John Claggett said he received several informal inquiries about the open slot, but there were no other formal applicants for the job. He suspects the lack of interest was due to the brief time table and temporary nature of the appointment.