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DOJ publishes notice of VAWA tribal jurisdiction program

The Department of Justice is moving forward with tribal jurisdiction provisions of S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

The law recognizes tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit domestic violence offenses in Indian Country. The provision doesn't kick in until March 2015 but DOJ is authorized to start a pilot project for tribes that are ready to exercise authority sooner.

"Domestic violence and dating violence committed in Indian country by Indian abusers against their Indian spouses, intimate partners, and dating partners generally fall within the criminal jurisdiction of the tribe," DOJ says in a notice that will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow.

"But prior to the effective date of the tribal provisions in VAWA 2013, if the victim is Indian and the perpetrator is non-Indian, the tribe lacks criminal jurisdiction as a matter of federal law and the crime can be prosecuted only by the United States or, in some circumstances, by the state in which the tribe’s Indian country is located," the notice states.

Comments on the pilot project program will be accepted 30 days after the notice is published.

Forthcoming Federal Register Notice:
Tribal Jurisdiction over Crimes of Domestic Violence; Pilot Project (To Be Published June 14, 2013)

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DOJ seeks input from tribes about Violence Against Women Act (4/18)

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