Argued: October 6, 2014.
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT LINCOLN COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE JOSEPH NEILES, Judge.
MARTY J. JACKLEY, Attorney General; ELLIE J. BAILEY, JOHN M. STROHMAN, Assistant Attorneys General, Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for plaintiff and appellee.
CYNTHIA M. BERREAU, Canton, South Dakota, Attorney for defendant and appellant.
KONENKAMP, Justice. GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and ZINTER, SEVERSON, and WILBUR, Justices, concur.
[¶1] Samuel Douglas Miland attacked a law enforcement officer while sitting in the officer's patrol car. After a bench trial, he was found guilty of aggravated assault. On appeal, he asserts insufficient evidence to support proof tat the officer sustained serious bodily injury and that the injury occurred under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
[¶2] On the evening of October 17, 2012, Deputy Chief of Police for Canton, South Dakota, David Jacobs, was dispatched to a local convenience store. A clerk had called to report her nervousness about two men " acting strange" at the store. When their vehicle left the store, Officer Jacobs followed. He observed a brake light out and initiated a traffic stop at 11:40 p.m. On approaching the car, the officer detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. He asked the driver, Miland, to join him in the patrol car. Once in the patrol car, Officer Jacobs asked Miland about his travel plans, whether he knew his brake light was out, and whether he had been drinking. Miland said he and his passenger were on their way to an ex-girlfriend's home; he acknowledged his light was out and had plans to fix it. He denied any drinking, and a later breath test confirmed his claim. Officer Jacobs had Miland stand in front of the patrol car so Officer Jacobs could speak with the passenger. According to Officer Jacobs, the passenger relayed plans inconsistent with what Miland had said. And Miland had given the officer a different last name for the passenger, whose true name was Blevins. When Officer Jacobs saw a handgun magazine on the dashboard, he returned to his patrol car and called for extra officers.
[¶3] Deputy Sheriffs Kolshan and Schurch responded to the call. Miland gave these officers permission to search his vehicle. While they searched, Miland and Officer Jacobs waited in the patrol car. With the patrol car's video and audio recording, the two can be heard calmly engaging in general conversation. As they were conversing, Miland told Officer Jacobs that the officers should " get that trunk nice and searched." He then opened the passenger-side door and yelled a similar comment to Deputy Schurch and then closed the door. Miland then asked Officer Jacobs whether he liked his job. Officer Jacobs responded that he did.
[¶4] Suddenly, without warning, Miland punched the officer squarely between the eyes and nose. As Officer Jacobs would later testify, " At that point, I was seeing stars, and he continued to beat me on my face as fast as he could and as hard as he could for I don't even know how long." Officer Jacobs tried unsuccessfully to push him off; ...