AG Jackley names new Chief Deputy to fill vacancy
Brent Kempema fills vacancy created by Mark Barnett's retirement
An 11-year veteran of the Attorney General’s office will take over as the second in command under AG Jackley.
Brent Kempema, who previously served as the Criminal Litigation Division Director, will move up to become the department’s Chief Deputy. That spot became vacant after Mark Barnett, a former Attorney General himself, retired from it last year.
“The people in this office are diligent in their service to the state,” Kempema said. “It is my honor to be part of the Attorney General’s leadership team.”
Kempema’s time in charge of the litigation division saw him pursue some of the most high-profile cases in the state. Last year, he led the prosecutorial efforts against Joel Koskan — a former candidate for the legislature who was convicted on two counts of felony incest.
Additionally, Kempema was the attorney who led the investigation into alleged possession of child pornography by Sioux Falls billionaire T. Denny Sanford.
Jackley says it’s his critical experience that led him to tab Kempema for the deputy position.
“Brent has provided great leadership to the Criminal Litigation Division, and I have no doubt that he will do the same for the entire office,” Jackley said.
Ernest Thompson will replace Kempema as the head of the Criminal Litigation Division. Thompson served as the Brown County State’s Attorney before joining the Attorney General’s Office in June.