Dean Washburn Testimony on Tribal Law and Order Act before the U.S. Sentencing Commission — Updated

Dean Kevin Washburn has posted the abstract of his written testimony on the Tribal Law and Order Act before the United States Sentencing Commission on SSRN. He will be appearing later today. Testimony is here.

Here is the abstract:

Under longstanding policy, the U.S. Sentencing Commission takes the position that tribal court convictions ought not be counted for purposes of evaluating a convicted defendant’s criminal history. Because in some cases this policy underestimates a defendant’s criminal history, it undermines the utilitarian and retributive purposes of federal sentencing. The Tribal Law and Order Act, currently pending in Congress and supported by the President, should cause the United States Sentencing Commission to reconsider its position on tribal convictions. The Act would provide clear federal authorization for tribal court felony sentences of up to three years per offense as long as tribal governments provide counsel to indigent defendants. I stop short of recommending a particular outcome because I believe that the Commission ought to consider the views of tribal governments before deciding. However, if the Act becomes law, the Commission should take this opportunity to re-open the question and consult with tribes about the future of this provision.


One thought on “Dean Washburn Testimony on Tribal Law and Order Act before the U.S. Sentencing Commission — Updated

  1. Curt January 21, 2010 / 2:55 pm

    This is a good sovereignty argument, but the consequences should be considered. The only people getting sentenced in tribal courts are Indians, so the result would be even longer sentences for Indians convicted of federal crimes. There is already a sentencing disparity and this seems like it would make it worse.

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