Standing Rock Sioux leader guilty of 'habitual' domestic assault

Kerby St. John, a council member for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, was convicted of "habitual" domestic assault in federal court.

St. John has two prior tribal court convictions for domestic assault. Under 18 U.S.C. § 117, which recognizes tribal court actions, he was charged as a "habitual" offender.

"Our approach to addressing domestic violence in tribal communities is firm and uncompromising - we will use every tool at our disposal to stop it," Brendan Johnson, the U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, said in a press release. "Federal law punishes repeat domestic violence offenders, and this historic verdict reflects the enduring commitment of my office to hold these people accountable."

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the use of prior tribal court convictions even if the offender wasn't provided an attorney.

Get the Story:
Tribal council member guilty of domestic assault (AP 6/7)

8th Circuit Decision:
US v. Cavanaugh (July 6, 2011)

10th Circuit Decision:
US v. Shavanaux (July 26, 2011)

Related Stories:
Supreme Court won't accept tribal domestic violence case (03/19)
Supreme Court won't hear Indian domestic violence case (02/21)
Two Indian domestic violence cases before Supreme Court (12/12)

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