Law

Hopi Tribe increases sentencing under Tribal Law and Order Act





The Hopi Tribe of Arizona is one of the few in Indian Country to take advantage of expanded criminal sentencing under the Tribal Law and Order Act.

The tribe updated its criminal code to allow sentences of up to three years for a single crime or up to nine years for multiple offenses. Previously, punishment was limited to one year under the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.

"The main thing is it will improve our law and order on the reservation, so we have a better way of protecting any victims," Chairman Le Roy Shingoitewa told the Associated Press.

Elsewhere, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon also has implemented stricter sentencing. "It's been working great so far," attorney Brent Leonhard told the AP.

A recent Government Accountability Office report showed that tribes cited inadequate funding as a major roadblock expanding their sentencing authority.

Get the Story:
Ariz. tribe boosts jail time for reservation crime (AP 9/5)

GAO Report:
None of the Surveyed Tribes Reported Exercising the New Sentencing Authority, and the Department of Justice Could Clarify Tribal Eligibility for Certain Grant Funds (GAO-12-658R, May 30, 2012)
Surveys of Grant Recipients, Select Tribes, and Indigent Defense Providers (GAO-12-661SP, May 30, 2012)

Related Stories:
No tribes are taking advantage of expanded criminal sentencing (5/31)