Bob Mercer

The investigation into the death of Richard Benda will remain closed to the public. That’s the ruling of the South Dakota Supreme Court, released publicly on Thursday. South Dakota journalist Bob Mercer took the issue to the high court in March after trying unsuccessfully to find out the details of the investigation that resulted in a ruling that Benda’s death was a suicide. But the court found that state law is clear in denying public access to law enforcement investigations.

South Dakota political columnist Bob Mercer pleaded his own case Tuesday before the state Supreme Court. Mercer is suing the state’s Attorney General for release of the Richard Benda death investigation reports. The attorney general’s refusal to release those records was upheld last year by the Office of Hearing Examiners and by the Sixth Circuit Court.