Regina Branton, Kimi King, and Justin Walsh have published an early print of “Criminal justice in Indian country: Examining declination rates of tribal cases,” forthcoming in Social Science Quarterly.
federal prosecution declinations
NYTs: Indian Country Crime High, Prosecutions Low
“One of the basic problems is that not only are they declining to prosecute cases, but we are not getting the reason or notification for the declination,” said Jerry Gardner of the Tribal Law and Policy Institute in West Hollywood, Calif., which works with tribes to develop justice programs. “The federal system takes a long time to make a decision, and when it comes to something like a child sexual assault, the community gets the message that nothing is being done.”
Under federal law, tribal courts have the authority to prosecute tribal members for crimes committed on reservations, but cannot sentence those convicted to more than three years in prison. As a result, tribes usually seek federal prosecution for serious crimes.