Considered on Briefs November 17, 2014
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT MINNEHAHA COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE PATRICIA C. RIEPEL, Judge.
MARTY J. JACKLEY, Attorney General, PAT ARCHER, Assistant Attorney General, Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for plaintiff and appellee.
RICHARD L. JOHNSON, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Attorney for defendant and appellant.
KONENKAMP, Justice. GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and ZINTER, SEVERSON, and WILBUR, Justices, concur.
[¶1] The State initiated a civil forfeiture action against a recreational vehicle (RV) belonging to Paul Alan Lockenour. He had transported and stored methamphetamine in this RV, some of which he later sold to a confidential informant for $300. All the illicit drugs found in his possession were valued between $1,600 and $2,000. Thus, he asserted that the forfeiture of his RV, valued at $54,000, was grossly disproportionate to his crime. The State moved for summary judgment, and, after a hearing, the circuit court granted the State's motion, ruling that the forfeiture was not grossly disproportionate or unconstitutionally excessive.
[¶2] Lockenour's RV, a 2011 Forest River XLR Toy Hauler, was purchased with money he inherited from his parents. Although his permanent residence was in Cambridge, Nebraska, he intended to use the RV as his residence. He had planned to travel to Daytona for " Bike Week." But he changed his plans at the request of his friend, " Lo." She asked him to come to Sioux Falls and bring methamphetamine (meth) with him. He later explained that he considered Lo a good friend, and he was willing to bring her meth to use or sell. But Lo, as Lockenour was later to learn, was a confidential informant. During their recorded telephone conversation, he told Lo he " got a lot" of meth, and she should sell it for " 3 for an 8."
[¶3] On March 10, 2011, law enforcement officers fitted Lo with a recording device and gave her purchase money. Lo
met with Lockenour, who had driven his RV to Sioux Falls to meet her. Through the audio recording, Lo and Lockenour can be heard talking about making money and the price of the meth. Lo gave Lockenour $300 for one baggie of meth, and he gave her an additional baggie without charge. After the purchase, Lo turned over the baggies to law enforcement officers. Each baggie bore a picture of a dolphin. One weighed 3.4 grams, the other 4.1 grams, and both tested positive for meth.
[¶4] Later that same day, Lockenour was arrested. After a search warrant was obtained, officers found 3.3 grams of meth on Lockenour's person. In the RV, they found six more baggies of meth with the same dolphin symbol, two glass pipes commonly used for smoking meth (with residue that tested positive for meth), a digital scale with meth residue on it, $300 cash (the law enforcement purchase money), and a white substance, not meth. The six additional baggies of meth weighed 3.3 grams, 3.4 grams, 3.7 grams, 1.6 grams, and 3.6 grams. The " street value" was approximately $1,600 to $2,000. During his interview with law enforcement officers, Lockenour explained that he had purchased ten, one-eighth ounce quantities of meth from a ...