Federal Court Dismisses Indictment in Indian Country Domestic Violence; Questions Constitutionality of Statute

Here is United States v. Cavanaugh (D. N.D.), where the court dismissed an indictment under the federal domestic violence by a habitual offender in Indian Country statute (18 U.S.C. 117), holding that the use of prior uncounseled tribal court D.V. convictions to establish the “habitual” element of the crime was unconstitutional. See my paper on how state courts should use, if at all, uncounseled tribal court convictions. The court rejected claims that the statute itself was unconstitutional under Morrison and Lopez.

Here are the materials:

Cavanaugh DCT Order on Motion to Dismiss

Cavanaugh Motion to Dismiss

US Opposition to Cavanaugh Motion to Dismiss

Cavanaugh Reply Brief

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Talk at Columbia Law School re: DV in Indian Country

I’ll be presenting my paper “Addressing the Epidemic of Domestic Violence in Indian Country by Restoring Tribal Sovereignty” at Columbia Law School today, on the gracious invitation of the Columbia NALSA and Domestic Violence Project.