Victim’s Cousin:?Ravnsborg?Defense Theory Stigmatizes Mental Health?
A judge’s decision to?release?a victim’s?mental health records?in a high-profile court case has the?family asking questions.???
Attorney?General Jason?Ravnsborg?hit and killed Joe?Boever last September?as he?walked along a?state?highway.?Ravnsborg?and his attorney are arguing in a new motion that Boever?was suicidal and?may?have thrown himself in front of?Ravnsborg’s?car.???
The defense’s theory is based on?Joe?Boever’s?mental health history.
They say police reports show he abused a drug before the crash that can?cause suicidal thoughts.?They also pointed to statements from Barnabas Nemec, Boever’s cousin, who told law enforcement that?Boever?was depressed and once?mentioned?he would?throw?himself in front of a vehicle?to end his life.???
Nick Nemec had no idea his brother Barnabas said this. He gave his brother a call and believes Barnabas shared his thoughts with the prosecutor hoping for?harsher charges against?Ravnsborg.???
“The defense attorneys jumped on top of a statement made by a non-medically trained induvial who lives 1,000 miles away and hadn’t seen Joe in at least nine months,” Nemec said.
He’s worried the defense’s theory sends negative messages about mental health.???
“It’s an insult to the thousands and thousands of South Dakotans who are taking medication for depression,” Nemec said. “Treatment of depression is way more common than a lot of people realize and it should not be stigmatized.”??
Ravnsborg has said he never saw Boever, who was found the morning after the crash near an illuminated flashlight he was carrying. North Dakota agents told Ravnsborg that he should have seen Boever before, during and after the crash if he’d been paying attention.
The Attorney General is charged with unsafely driving outside a lane and careless driving in relation to the crash. He's also charged with using his phone while driving before the crash occurred. All three crimes are misdemeanors.
Ravnsborg faces up to 90 days in jail if he’s convicted after his two-day trial, which is scheduled to begin on August 26?at the Stanley County Courthouse in Fort Pierre.???