Ninth Circuit Rejects Challenge to Colville Tribal Membership Determination

Here are the materials in Desautel v. Dupris:

Desautel Opening Brief

Colville Answer Brief

CA9 Unpublished Opinion

Profile on Criminal Justice at Colville

From the Wenatchee News:

NESPELEM — Charlene Bearcub looks out her office window in Nespelem and does not see justice.

A probation officer for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Bearcub lost her son to a gun nearly five years ago.

A few blocks away, she can see the small, gray house where her oldest son, Ronald D. Thomas Jr., was shot and killed Jan. 12, 2005.

Next to her office sit two pale yellow prefabricated buildings which house Colville Tribal Court, where a tribal jury acquitted the teenager arrested and charged with her son’s homicide.

They were both 18, and best friends.

Even if he had been convicted, the boy would have spent only a year in jail for the crime, at most, because he was tried in tribal court. Under terms of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, no tribe may impose punishment greater than one year imprisonment. Serious crimes — like rape and murder — are supposed to fall to federal agents to investigate, and the U.S. Attorney for prosecution. But when the U.S. Attorney declines to prosecute, the only other option is tribal court.

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