Law | Politics

Stephanie Woodard: Advocates want to see racist e-mails





Stephanie Woodard reports on an investigation that found a federal judge in Montana used his government e-email account to send "hundreds" of inappropriate messages, including some about Native Americans:
Indian country has responded with anger, dismay and a degree of “we knew it all along” to a federal judicial-oversight panel’s revelations about hundreds of biased emails sent by Montana’s former chief district court judge, Richard Cebull.

Lita Pepion, Blackfeet, of Indian People’s Action, in Billings, Montana, called for the emails to be released in their entirety, not merely described in general terms. The federal courts hear many Native American matters because of the relationship of the tribal nations to the United States, according to Pepion: “We need to know exactly what was said. Actions of the federal judiciary have an immediate and personal effect on Native communities. We already know Native men and women are very much over-represented in federal prison population. And that means children growing up without their parents, and families sentenced to a life of poverty. Bias destroys our communities.”

Tom Rodgers, the Blackfeet president of Carlyle Consulting and whistleblower in the Jack Abramoff scandal, agreed, saying, “Only when we see the emails will we be able to begin restoring trust in the justice system.”

Pepion also wanted to compare Cebull’s actions when dealing with similar allegations against Native and non-Native defendants. “We need to look at patterns in his treatment of civil matters, such as the Native voting-rights case he recently dismissed, Wandering Medicine v. McCulloch,” she said.

Get the Story:
Stephanie Woodard: Racist Emails From Federal Judge—And Who Cares About Them (Indian Country Today 1/23)

Relevant Documents:
IN RE: COMPLAINT OF JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT (January 17, 2014)

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