indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Cronkite News: Tribes support efforts to expand criminal authority

Filed Under: Law | National | Politics
More on: 114th, alfred urbina, arizona, cronkite news, dana buckles, doj, fort peck, jurisdiction, montana, pascua yaqui, s.2785, s.2920, scia, senate, tracy toulou, vawa
     
   

Pascua Yaqui Attorney General Alfred Urbina told a Senate committee that the current relationship between state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies is “unworkable, unreliable.” Photo by Emily Zentner / Cronkite News

Arizona official urges Senate to close gaps in tribal criminal law
By Emily Zentner
Cronkite News
cronkitenews.azpbs.org

WASHINGTON – A Pascua Yaqui official said Wednesday that changes to federal law allowing tribes to prosecute nonmembers for domestic violence represented “a new dawn” for Native Americans, but there are gaps in the law that need to be addressed.

Pascua Yaqui Attorney General Alfred Urbina told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that his tribe has been able to prosecute 22 non-Indians for domestic violence since winning that authority in 2014, and has convicted eight.

But Urbina, testifying in support of two bills on tribal law enforcement, said the currently law is so narrowly drawn that tribal authorities cannot proceed with prosecuting suspects on other charges that are not directly related to the domestic violence.

He said in his prepared testimony that those could include cases where “the offender was in possession of illegal drugs, assaulted a police or detention officer, destroyed property or committed any other crime” while being charged under the Violence Against Women Act.

“Lawmakers should have thought about children at the scene in domestic violence arrests,” Urbina said after the hearing. “There are children that we’ve had to pull out (of a home), or that have been assaulted or exposed to violence.”

Because tribal law enforcement does not have jurisdiction to charge offenders for violence against children, Urbina said tribal police instead have to remove these children from their homes. He said in his written testimony that “domestic violence jurisdiction must be expanded to include children.”


Indianz.Com SoundCloud: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs May 18, 2016

That was echoed by Dana Buckles, a councilman from the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation in northeast Montana. Buckles said in his prepared testimony that over half of those seeking help from the tribe’s Family Violence Resource Center were children.

“This amounts to approximately 1,000 children, who were in need of family crisis services as victims or witnesses of domestic violence in their homes,” Buckles said.

S.2785, the Tribal Youth and Community Protection Act, sponsored by Sens. Jon Tester, D-Montana, and Al Franken, D-Minnesota, would expand tribal jurisdiction to include drug offenses, domestic violence against children and other charges.

A Justice Department official agreed that there are “three significant gaps” in the law that must be closed, but worried about making changes that are too sweeping.

Tracy Toulou, the director of the Justice Department’s Office of Tribal Justice, said there are questions about whether “domestic violence” includes the threat of force, whether children are included as well as spouses and partners, and whether it includes violence against police or law enforcement officials by defendants resisting arrest, for example.

But Toulou said those gaps can be closed without adding broad new categories of crimes to the law’s jurisdiction.

It may make sense one day to include “additional non-Indian perpetrators, perhaps starting with those offenders who abuse children … and then considering other offenders such as perpetrators of sexual assault, stalking, and sex trafficking, and criminals who bring illegal drugs into tribal communities.”

But the department thinks reforms for now “should focus instead on clarifying and expanding tribal prosecutors’ tools for bringing to justice the defendants who are already within the tribe’s jurisdiction,” he said.

All the witnesses agreed that giving local authorities the power to pursue prosecutions is the best course, however.

“It is clear that the starting place to reverse historical jurisdictional problems and injustice in Indian Country is by empowering tribal justice systems,” Urbina said.

Note: This article is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice:
Legislative Hearing to receive testimony on the following bills: S. 2785, S. 2916, & S. 2920 (May 18, 2016)

Related Stories:
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs takes up tribal justice bills (5/17)
Bill in Senate expands tribal jurisdiction over non-Indian offenders (04/14)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Supreme Court hands defeat to tribal interests in sovereignty case (4/25)
Matthew Fletcher: 'Gamesmanship' brings defeat in Supreme Court (4/25)
Supreme Court relists petition in Gun Lake Tribe gaming land case (4/25)
Native Sun News Today: Groups fight uranium mining in Black Hills (4/25)
Cronkite News: Budget deadline falls on Donald Trump's 100th day (4/25)
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act heals our families (4/25)
André Cramblit: Tribes must make language survival a top priority (4/25)
Pojoaque Pueblo loses big decision in gaming dispute with state (4/24)
Supreme Court takes no action on long-running tribal land case (4/24)
Yakama Nation landowners see $68M in Cobell buy-back offers (4/24)
Tim Giago: Sovereignty at risk with Donald Trump in White House (4/24)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump & Republicans can't seem to govern (4/24)
Native Sun News Today: Chickasaw citizen donates prom dresses (4/24)
Steve Russell: The BEST advertisement for education in America (4/24)
Arlana Bennett: Picking cans with my father became our tradition (4/24)
Terese Mailhot: Maybe some people should be able to play Indian (4/24)
Charles Kader: Tribal communities still face threats to their lands (4/24)
3rd suspect sought in connection with death of elderly Native man (4/24)
Mashantucket Tribe expresses interest in growing industrial hemp (4/24)
Shutdown of federal government looms ahead of April 28 deadline (4/24)
Confederate monuments start coming down as Jackson stays put (4/24)
Blackfeet Nation citizens approve historic water rights settlement (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River Sioux woman still walking (4/21)
James Giago Davies: Our future is not bleak but bright with promise (4/21)
Rosalyn LaPier: Tradition blends with science in tribal communities (4/21)
Simon Moya-Smith: Media continues to peddle in Indian stereotypes (4/21)
Steven Newcomb: Bill in California dehumanizes indigenous peoples (4/21)
American Indian Library Association battles Trump's big budget cut (4/21)
Navajo Nation citizen faces death penalty for murder of tribal officer (4/21)
Meskwaki Tribe diversifies economy with barbecue sauces and more (4/21)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe must keep fighting despite gaming win (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Body of missing Cheyenne River man found (4/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: True tribal histories are concealed in America (4/20)
Steve Russell: Thoughts about sovereignty and tribal governments (4/20)
Dwanna Robertson: Dispelling a common myth about tribal gaming (4/20)
Whiteclay liquor stores ordered to shut down after losing licenses (4/20)
Cherokee Nation blames pharmaceutical industry for opioid crisis (4/20)
Eastern Cherokee citizens back chief amid call for impeachment (4/20)
North Carolina woman punished for abducting Cherokee children (4/20)
Ramapough Lenape Nation denied permit for anti-pipeline camp (4/20)
Ho-Chunk Nation remains confident as rival tribe sues over casino (4/20)
Nottawaseppi Huron Band invests casino funds in unique project (4/20)
Pechanga Band reaches midway point of $285M casino expansion (4/20)
More data needed to address human trafficking in Indian Country (4/19)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee set for 1st field oversight hearing (4/19)
Navajo Nation Council rejects bill to change name to 'Dine Nation' (4/19)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.