Rhines’ legal team files additional court papers ahead of judge’s opinion

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Charles Rhines’ legal team has filed more than 70 pages of documents backing up their argument ahead of Judge Jon Sogn’s expected written opinion this week.

The documents reinforce their arguments heard in a Minnehaha County courtroom earlier this week.

Sogn had allowed both Rhines and the State of South Dakota to file additional materials given the short timeframe before the next week’s scheduled execution.

As of Thursday morning, the state did not appear to have filed anything, according to a court database. The deadline was Wednesday afternoon.

The clerk of courts has to go through each document submitted, which could explain a delay.

Rhines legal team lays out several arguments for the judge to consider. One is that pentobarbital is not an ultra-short-acting barbiturate.

“As an initial matter, in reviewing the medical documents and testimony regarding barbiturate, the Court should ignore such documents and testimony that relate to the effects of the drugs because that is not the issue here,” attorney Dan Fritz wrote in a memo to the court.

Fritz also argued that, “as a matter of law, this action was timely and the application should not be denied on the basis of defendants’ equitable interest in having Rhines executed next week.”

The state has argued that Rhines waited until the “11th hour” to bring this case forward. As Fritz points out, the law only says seven days ahead of an execution.

The documents also included several attachments including textbook pages to further Rhines’ arguments.

A judge’s opinion or temporary injunction is expected before the end of Friday.

This is a developing story.

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