White House Blog Post on VAWA 2013 and Indian Health


An excerpt:

Because of the successful 2013 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which President Obama signed into law on March 7, 2013, tribal courts and law enforcement will soon be able to exercise the sovereign power to investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence those who commit acts of domestic violence or dating violence or violate certain protection orders in Indian country, regardless of the defendant’s Indian or non-Indian status. The tribal provisions of this landmark legislation were originally proposed by the Department of Justice in 2011 to address alarming rates of violence against native women.  We believe today, as we did then, that this is not only constitutionally sound law, but it is also a moral prerogative and an essential tool to ensure that non-Indian men who assault Indian women are held accountable for their crimes.

Eighth and Ninth Circuits Affirm Indian Country D.V. Sentences

Here is Wednesday’s opinion in United States v. White Twin (CA8):


And here is Wednesday’s opinion in United States v. Two Moons (CA9):


Utah Domestic Violence Council Economic Justice and Empowerment Project Final Report

Here, via SSRN.

From the report (author, Dr. Rebecca Hall):

This report provides a record of the work I performed as the Economic Justice Coordinator for UDVC between January 2010 and April 2011. It is designed to be useful for any DV advocate who is approaching issues of economic empowerment and justice at the systems level. Most of the work completed is folded into the narrative, particularly in the assessment and contact sections. Rather than creating a list of projects completed, I incorporated this information topically were it would be of most help to someone using this report in the future. There is a resource section at the end, which is by no means comprehensive. I focused on the resources and contacts that are not already well-integrated into UDVC’s collaboration and referral structure. Also, the Economic Empowerment Curriculum provides a more comprehensive topical discussion of resources, which this report merely complements. These two projects should be used in conjunction with each other. Further, I left folders on the UDVC’ shared drive which contains policy articles and discussion of many of the substantive areas of Economic Justice and Empowerment. I have appended a brief summary of the trainings, and will attach in hard copy the lists of those trained and their contact information

Eighth Circuit Affirms Major Crimes Act — Domestic Violence — Sentencing

The court relied at least in part on prior tribal court convictions, but didn’t note whether they were counseled or uncounseled.

Here is the opinion:

US v Strong CA8 Opinion

ICT on Shavanaux Reversal


An excerpt:

The dismissal of a federal domestic violence charge against a 37-year-old enrolled member of the Northern Ute Tribe was reversed and sent back to the lower court by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on July 26.

The justices ruled that neither the absence of counsel in two prior domestic violence convictions in Ute Tribal Court nor differences between tribal and U.S. law violated the rights of Adam Ray Shavanaux of Fort Duchesne, Uintah and Ouray Reservation, Utah.

Shavanaux was arrested in January 2010 after Ute tribal police officers were called to aid an assault victim who was able to escape from a home in Fort Duchesne and seek assistance. The victim was later taken to the hospital, according to the U.S. Attorney in Utah.

Uniting Three Fires Against Violence Opens in the U.P.

From the Soo Evening News (miigwetch to A.K.):

A new independent agency recently opened its doors to bring coordinated help to those who endeavor to prevent and address domestic violence among Michigan’s 12 federally recognized tribes.

While the organization has been in existence for about a year under a planning grant, Uniting Three Fires Against Violence (UTFAV) recently hung its shingle at its headquarters at 531 Ashmun Street in the Sault. The offices are adjacent to the River of History Museum.

“We are a coalition for all 12 tribes to act as a training source, technical assistance and resource center,” said Executive Director Kellie LaVictor.

“There was no spot in Michigan where all the tribes could turn to for any assistance whether it was policy development, grant writing, training or presenting, providing resources and so on.”

She said the help tribes receive through UTFAV is tailored to their needs and includes tribes with more developed anti-domestic violence programs helping tribes lacking them.

The organization’s stated mission is to unite and empower American Indian communities in Michigan to end domestic violence and sexual assault, to collaboratively promote positive change for individuals experiencing violence or abuse and provide resources for safety and advocacy to ensure the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being of American Indians victimized by violence.

Continue reading

Eighth Circuit Briefing Complete in United States v. Cavanaugh–Challenge to Use of Uncounseled Tribal Court Convictions

Since this is also a challenge to a federal statute, expect a strong cert petition from the US if it loses this case in the Eighth Circuit. If not, then look for a circuit split down the line.

Here are those materials:

US v Cavanaugh Appellant Brief

Cavanaugh Answer Brief

US v Cavanaugh Reply Brief

Earlier posting with lower court materials here.