Sixth Amendment focal point of Constitution Day at The U

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Law School invites the community to observe Constitution Day by attending “The Sixth Amendment Right to the Assistance of Counsel” at noon on Sept. 17 in the courtroom of the USD Law School.

"The Sixth Amendment Right to the Assistance of Counsel" will feature Jeffrey Viken, the Federal Public Defender for South Dakota and North Dakota; and Jeff Larson and Traci Smith of the Minnehaha County Public Defender’s Office. All three attorneys received their J.D. degrees from The University of South Dakota School of Law. Prior to becoming a Federal Public Defender, Viken was in private practice for more than 20 years. He also served as assistant U.S. attorney in South Dakota for four years after graduating from USD. Smith, meanwhile, has served in the Minnehaha County Public Defender’s Office since 1999. She is also a member of the South Dakota Bar, the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In addition to serving as president of the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association in 2003, Larson has served in the Minnehaha County Public Defender’s Office since 1982. He is also a member of the American Council of Chief Defenders, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American Bar Association.

Constitution Day was established by Congress in 2004 to recognize the ratification of the United States Constitution. All colleges and universities that receive federal funding are required to host an educational event about the Constitution. For more information about the Constitution Day program, which is free and open to the public, please contact the USD School of Law at (605) 677-5443 or e-mail Law.School@usd.edu.

Photographs are available at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Jeff_Larson.jpg; www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Traci_Smith.jpg; and www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Jeffrey_Viken.jpg.