Agreement in allows Alaska tribe to prosecute low-level offenses

A welcome sign in Anvik, Alaska. Photo: Alaska Department of Fish and Game

The state of Alaska reached an agreement for the Anvik Tribe to handle certain crimes in its court system.

The civil diversion agreement applies to certain fourth degree assaults, reckless endangerment, Class B misdemeanors, crimes involving substance abuse and certain alcohol and drug-related offenses. The offender must consent to the diversion or face prosecution in state court.

"In our vast state, criminal justice resources get spread thin,” Attorney General Lindemuth said in a press release. “By partnering with tribal governments, we get culturally-based solutions."

The tribe plans to implement culturally-appropriate punishments for those who choose to go through its system. The tribe also has the option of deferring a case.

"It’s a win-win for the state and the tribes," Lindemuth said. "I am excited that the Anvik Village Tribe has entered into this agreement and look forward to more tribes participating in this innovative program.”

In the past, the state has opposed tribal jurisdiction in almost every matter. But Gov. Bill Walker (I) and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott (D), who is Native, have sought to develop a new relationship with the first Alaskans.

Read More on the Story:
State signs landmark deal to allow tribal prosecution of low-level crimes (Alaska Dispatch News 1/11)
Anvik tribal courts given more jurisdiction in lower level cases (KUAC 1/10)