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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

Friday, September 2, 2016

United States District Court Affirms Piedmont Woman’s Conviction and Sentence for Collecting Signatures on United States Postal Service Property

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announces that the United States District Court has affirmed the federal conviction and sentence of Roberta Helmerick.  Helmerick was convicted in federal district court in Rapid City of Collecting Signatures on United States Post Office Property, after being warned repeatedly by postal personnel and the Rapid City Police that her signature collecting violated federal regulations.  The magistrate judge who heard the case imposed a $200 fine after convicting Helmerick.

During the trial, the magistrate judge heard that Helmerick was advised repeatedly that collecting signatures on a petition on post office property was a violation of federal regulations.  Despite numerous requests from postal personnel and officers with the Rapid City Police Department to move her signature collection activities to sidewalks around the post office, Helmerick continued collecting signatures, even after other members of the group she belonged to had moved to the sidewalks.

In her appeal, Helmerick argued the Postal regulations were not posted sufficiently to provide notice of their requirements.  In a published opinion, the district court affirmed the magistrate judge’s verdict in all respects, concluding Helmerick had received actual notice of the regulations.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Kelderman prosecuted the case at trial and handled the appeal for the government.  The investigation was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Rapid City Police Department.

Updated September 2, 2016