Navajo Nation woman sentenced to year for death of daughter

A sandstone near Cove, Arizona. Photo by Roger Hansen / Tired Road Warrior

A woman from the Navajo Nation was sentenced to one year in prison for the death of her two-year-old daughter.

Norena Joe pleaded guilty to a homicide charge in tribal court. She admitted that she was criminally negligent for the death of Kiara Harvey in Cove, Arizona, in 2008.

The sentence -- which was suspended, meaning Joe won't serve time -- was limited by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. Tribal courts can only punish defendants for one year under the law.

The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 allows tribes to issue sentences of up of to three years. However, the Navajo Nation has not changed all of its laws and procedures to come into compliance with the law.

“I really believe as best as it could, justice was served here,” tribal prosecutor Richard Wade told the Associated Press.

The case at one point was referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona. But federal prosecutors never filed charges, the AP reported in 2011.

It's possible the case could be referred to the office again.

Get the Story:
Mother pleads guilty to homicide in daughter’s death (AP 7/15)
Mother walks free despite admitting homicide in daughter's death on tribal lands seven years ago (The Daily Mail 7/15)

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