DOI Consultation Notice on DOI Reorganization

Download(PDF): Tribal Listening Sessions on E.O. 13871: Reorganization of the Executive Branch

Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Michael S. Black, invites Tribal leaders to attend one of the listed listening sessions to provide input on improving “efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability” at the Department of the Interior.

DATES

Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s Testimony Submitted to Senate Indian Affairs Committee

Download transcript of PYT’s oral testimony here.

Link to written testimony and meeting video here.

Links to legislation: S.2785, S.2916, S.2920.

United States Accepts Concurrent Jurisdiction Over Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Department of Justice Press Release here.

The decision will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.  Tribal, state and county prosecutors and law enforcement agencies will also continue to have criminal jurisdiction on the reservation.

“We believe this decision – made after a careful review of the tribe’s application and the facts on the ground – will strengthen public safety and the criminal justice system serving the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe,” said Deputy Attorney General Yates.  “This is another step forward in the Justice Department’s commitment to serve and protect American Indian and Alaska Native communities, to deal with them on a government-to-government basis and to fulfill the historic promise of the Tribal Law and Order Act.  Strong law enforcement partnerships with the Tribe, as well as state and local counterparts, will be essential to the success of this effort.”

Mille Lacs is the second tribe to be granted concurrent jurisdiction under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. White Earth received concurrent jurisdiction status in 2013.

Indian Country Investigation & Prosecutions Report to Congress

Link to DOJ report for 2014 here.

Highlights:

  • FBI’s CY 2014 statistics are similar to 2013. The majority of Indian country criminal investigations opened by the FBI were referred for prosecution.
  • The majority of Indian country criminal cases opened by the USAOs were
    prosecuted.
  • The most common reason FBI Indian country investigations were closed administratively without referral for prosecution was that the investigation concluded that no federal crime had occurred. Analysis of CY 2014 data indicates that 657 FBI Indian country investigations were closed administratively without referral to a prosecuting authority — approximately 32% of the investigations that were opened. Reasons for non-referral include deaths determined to be the result of natural causes, accident, or suicide (i.e., non-homicides; 20% in CY 2014 of all investigations not referred), and insufficient evidence of criminal activity (21% in CY 2014).
  • All but 37 of the 148 death investigations that the FBI closed administratively in CY 2014 were closed because the FBI established that the death was due to causes other than homicide; i.e., accidents, suicide, or death due to natural causes.
  • In 2014, the USAOs resolved more cases than in 2013. In 2014, the USAOs resolved 535 more cases than in 2013. A total of 3,930 Indian country matters were resolved in CY 2014, as compared to 3,395 cases in 2013.
  • The USAO declination rate remained steady. USAO data for CY 2014 show that 34% (989) of all Indian country submissions for prosecution (2,941) were declined. In CY 2013, USAOs declined approximately 34% (853) of all (2,542) Indian country submissions for prosecution. USAO data for CY 2012 indicate that just under 31% (954) of all Indian country submissions for prosecution (2,542) were declined.
  • The most common reason for declination by USAOs was insufficient evidence (59.6% in CY 2014, 56% in CY 2013, and 52% in CY 2012). The next most common reason for declination by USAOs was referral to another prosecuting authority (16.3% in CY 2014, 21% in CY 2013, and 24% in CY 2012).

NAICJA Board of Directors Unanimously Support AG and ILOC Reports

Resolution No. 2015-01
Resolution No. 2015-02

The National American Indian Court Judges Association are supporting the Indian Law and Order Commission’s November 2013 report entitled “A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer,” which “advocates for tribal justice systems to have the ability to fully express their sovereignty by opting out of the current jurisdictional maze, and exercise criminal jurisdiction over all persons without any sentencing limitations, including juveniles.”  However, NAICJA prefers that all individuals charged with crimes under this enhanced tribal jurisdiction be provided with civil rights protections equivalent to those guaranteed by the Indian Civil Rights Act, instead of the U.S. Constitution.

NAICJA is also supporting the November 2014 report from the Attorney General’s advisory committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence entitled “Ending Violence So Children Can Thrive” which “calls for the restoration of the inherent sovereignty of tribes to assert full criminal jurisdiction over all persons who commit crimes against AI/AN children in Indian country.”

Department of Justice Announces Program to Enhance Tribal Access to National Crime Information Databases

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES PROGRAM TO ENHANCE TRIBAL ACCESS TO NATIONAL CRIME INFORMATION DATABASES

 Department of Justice Tribal Access Program (TAP) Will Improve the Exchange of Critical Data 

Department of the Interior Companion Program to Provide Name-Based Emergency Background Checks for Child Placement

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice is launching an initial phase of the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP) to provide federally-recognized tribes access to national crime information databases for both civil and criminal purposes.  TAP will allow tribes to more effectively serve and protect their communities by ensuring the exchange of critical data.

This initial phase of TAP was announced today in a meeting with tribes held during the 2015 Department of Justice/FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division Tribal Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Federal criminal databases hold critical information that can solve crimes, and keep police officers and communities safe,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates.  “The Tribal Access Program is a step forward to providing tribes the access they need to protect their communities, keep guns from falling into the wrong hands, assist victims and prevent domestic and sexual violence.  Empowering tribal law enforcement with information strengthens public safety and is a key element in our ongoing strategy to build safe and healthy communities in Indian country. ”

“The FBI is pleased to participate in this initiative,” said Executive Assistant Director Amy Hess of the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch.  “This will be a positive step for the tribal agencies to receive valuable criminal information and also for those same tribal agencies to submit criminal information at the national level.  Through this partnership, information becomes richer and communities can become safer.”

TAP will support tribes in analyzing their needs for national crime information and help provide appropriate solutions, including a-state-of-the-art biometric/biographic computer workstation with capabilities to process finger and palm prints, take mugshots and submit records to national databases, as well as the ability to access CJIS systems for criminal and civil purposes through the Department of Justice.  TAP will also provide specialized training and assistance for participating tribes.

While in the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 Congress required the Attorney General to ensure that tribal officials that meet applicable requirements be permitted access to national crime information databases, the ability of tribes to fully participate in national criminal justice information sharing via state networks has been dependent upon various regulations, statutes and policies of the states in which a tribe’s land is located.  Therefore, improving access for tribal law enforcement to federal criminal information databases has been a departmental focus for several years.  In 2010, the department instituted two pilot projects, one biometric and one biographic, to improve informational access for tribes.  The biographic pilot continues to serve more than 20 tribal law enforcement agencies.

Departments of Justice and Interior Working Group

In 2014, the Departments of Justice and the Interior (DOI) formed a working group to assess the impact of the pilots and identify long-term sustainable solutions that address both criminal and civil needs of tribes.  The outcome of this collaboration was the TAP, as well as an additional program announced today by the DOI’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) that provides tribes with national crime information prior to making child placement decisions in emergency circumstances.  Under the BIA program, social service agencies of federally recognized tribes will be able to view criminal history information  accessed through BIA’s Office of Justice Services who will conduct name-based checks in situations where parents are unable to care for their children.

“Giving tribal government programs access to national crime databases through DOJ’s Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information is a tremendous step forward towards increasing public safety in Indian Country,” said Assistant Secretary Kevin K. Washburn for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.  “The Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services’ Purpose Code X program provides a much-needed tool for tribal social service agencies when they must find safe homes to place children during temporary emergency situations.”

In the initial phase of the TAP program, the biometric/biographic workstations will be deployed to up to 10 federally-recognized tribes who will provide user feedback.  This phase will focus on assisting tribes that have law enforcement agencies, while in the future the department will seek to address needs of the remaining tribes and find a long-term solution.  The department will continue to work with Congress for additional funding to more broadly deploy the program.

The Department of Justice’s Chief Information Officer manages TAP.

“It is our hope that TAP can minimize the national crime information gap and drive a deeper and more meaningful collaboration between the federal, state, local and tribal criminal justice communities,” said Chief Information Officer Joseph F. Klimavicz for the department.

For more information on TAP, visit www.justice.gov/tribal/tribal-access-program-tap.

For more information about the Justice Department’s work on tribal justice and public safety issues, visit: www.justice.gov/tribal.

For more information about the Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, visit www.indianaffairs.gov/

TLOA Implementation Event, July 13-14

Dialogue on Implementing TLOA’s Enhanced Sentencing Authority

On July 13–14, 2015, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice and the American Probation and Parole Association will conduct A Dialogue on the Tribal Law & Order Act (TLOA) Implementation of Enhanced Sentencing Authority in Tucson, AZ. At this no-cost event, tribal governments will share their experiences in implementing new TLOA authority. Discussion will also explore how to better implement enhanced sentencing authority among interested tribes. For more information visit: www.appa-net.org/eweb/Dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=IV_ProjectDetail&wps_key=49d0989a-0f8a-4644-ba62-2cedacc704bc.