Next steps in Hoek trial


Joseph Gene Hoek, the man accused of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Moody County Deputy Sheriff Ken Prorok, is scheduled this week for a competency evaluation.
Hoek faces the death penalty after an eyewitness reports seeing him intentionally hit and kill Prorok as he fled from officers in a high-speed chase out of Madison on February 2nd.
At this time, Hoek has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
If an initial evaluation finds the defendant to be incompetent, it is likely his attorney will change his plea to not-guilty by reason of insanity on June 20th. If that happens, the state and the Attorney General’s office can request a second evaluation.
Should he be found fit to stand trial, a Petit jury, also known as a trial jury, will need to be selected from a local pool of jurors. This is different from the Grand Jury the county seats each year. Grand juries are seated for 12-months and potentially hear multiple cases.

Petit juries are typically made up of 6-12 people and in a criminal case, decide whether the Government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime as charged.
They hear just one case, issue a decision on life or death, and then are dismissed.
“My experience has typically been, even in small communities, they are fair minded people, they want to see all of the evidence and so that’s taken care of during jury selection,” said South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley.
“I really feel that at this point, not having seen the jury pool or questionnaires, there are typically 12-14 in a murder case, 14 usually in a first degree murder case. … the prosecution can agree on what would be fair, hear the evidence, and make a determination based on that evidence.”
Jackley hopes proceedings in this case move swiftly to bring closure to Prorok’s family along with so many others, but the reality is the process could take years.
If a jury finds Hoek guilty, the court would likely appoint another set of lawyers to join his team and the State’s team for the sentencing phase. The defense could then appeal any decision.
Hoek, 40, remains in custody with no option for bail.