Washington State AG Opinion on WA’s Obligation to Enforce Tribal PPOs


Dear Justices Owens and Madsen:

By letter previously acknowledged, you have requested our opinion on two questions that I paraphrase as follows:

1. Does Washington have an obligation to enforce protection orders issued by the courts of other states or by Indian tribal courts?

2. If Washington has such an obligation, is registration of a protection order in a Washington state court a prerequisite to enforcement?


1. Yes. Federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 2265, requires that any protection order issued by the court of a state or Indian tribe be accorded full faith and credit and enforced by the court of another state or Indian tribe, if the protection order is consistent with 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b). The Washington Foreign Protection Order Full Faith and Credit Act, RCW 26.52, implements this requirement in Washington.

2. No. Under 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2), a protection order issued by a state or Indian tribe must be accorded full faith and credit regardless of whether it is registered or filed in the court of the enforcing state or Indian tribe. Washington law permits protection orders to be filed without cost, but filing is not a prerequisite to enforcement. RCW 26.52.030.

VAWA Reauthorization 2018

The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Bill has been introduced today in the House by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee.

Full text of bill available Final–VAWA 2018 copy

Press Release from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee here

In addition, the National Indigenous Woman’s Resource Center (NIWRC) is leading a social media campaign to promote support for the reauthorization. Below is a sampling of the information from NIWRC.


NIWRC has developed a social media campaign. All of the insta/twitter/posters you need are attached to this email!!! Please post and tag @NIWRC 

Additionally, there are some social media hashtags for today and going forward that you can use from the National movement: #VAWA4ALL and #VAWA2018. If you tag NIWRC, we will retweet/reinstagram/repost! Because this bill includes needed protections for Native women, NIWRC will also be using #TribalVAWA and #VAWA4Natives. 


Sample TWEETS for Introduction of Bill: 

A Braid of Safety for All! Protect Native Survivors…Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act @NIWRC @jacksonleeTX18 #VAWA4ALL #VAWA4Natives #TRIBALVAWA #VAWA18

Native Survivor’s Can’t Wait…Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act @RepHandle  @NIWRC #VAWA4Natives #TRIBALVAWA #VAWA4ALL   

We’re with @JacksonLeeTX18 to pass #VAWA4ALL because native survivors deserve justice! Please co-sponsor @RepHandle 

Violence doesn’t discriminate and neither should our laws! Support #VAWA18 and ensure Native survivors of gender-based violence have access to justice on tribal lands! #VAWA4ALL 

@RepHandle, violence against women happens in our community, too. Reauthorize #VAWA and support prevention and education programs that keep our jurisdiction safe!

The Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2018, introduced by @JacksonLeeTX18 today, includes key enhancements for all survivors of domestic and sexual violence. @HouseDemocrats and @HouseGOP, let’s get this bill across the finish line! #VAWA18 #VAWA4ALL

The Violence Against Women Act has always been bipartisan. @Rephandle can we count on you to co-sponsor @JacksonLeeTX18 ‘Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2018’ for a #VAWA4All survivors? #VAWA18

We’re with @JacksonLeeTX18 to pass #VAWA4ALL because communities need access to sexual assault prevention! @RepHandle, please co-sponsor #VAWA18

We’re with @JacksonLeeTX18 to pass #VAWA4ALL because survivors need housing protections! @RepHandle, please co-sponsor the “Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2018’

Violence doesn’t discriminate and neither should our laws! Support #VAWA18 and ensure incarcerated survivors of gender-based violence have access to trauma-informed care! #VAWA4ALL

Support #VAWA18 and ensure survivors of domestic abuse access to safe housing! #VAWA4ALL

Reducing access to firearms saves women’s lives! Support #VAWA18 and help prevent firearm-involved intimate partner homicides #VAWA4ALL

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2017 US DOJ Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS)

Meant to post this sooner, but the CTAS applications are up and due February 28th. These grants provide can support to tribal courts and tribal justice systems:

In Fiscal Year 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) initiative, which encompassed most of the Department’s available Tribal government-specific grant programs. Through CTAS the Department has awarded over 1,600 grants totaling more than $722 million to hundreds of American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The Tribes are using these funds to enhance law enforcement, bolster justice systems, prevent and control delinquency, strengthen the juvenile justice system, serve sexual assault and elder victims, and support other efforts to combat crime.


Fact Sheet


VAWA Tribal Trial Advocacy Skills Training at Eastern Band Cherokee


August 24-26, 2016
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation Cherokee, North Carolina

The BIA Office of Justice Services and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation present a free training for tribal judges, prosecutors, public defenders and tribal leaders in trial advocacy skills and the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Special Domestic Violence Jurisdiction over Non-Indians.

Presenters Include:

Jill Rose, United States Attorney, Western District of North Carolina
Hon. Steve Aycock, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
John Pritchard, Assistant United States Attorney and Tribal Liaison, Western District of North Carolina
Leslie Hagan, National Indian Country Training Coordinator for the Justice

The Training is free of charge, but travel and lodging are at the participant’s expense. Rooms have been reserved at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort at a conference rate of $129 a night. Call 1-866-503-3904 to reserve rooms and use the conference code S08VAWA.

Please email and return the attached registration form to Tessa Turnbow at tessat@whitenergroup.biz

Alaska Attorney General Publishes Opinion Regarding State Enforcement of Tribal Protection Orders

Link to full press release here  .

Attorney General Craig Richards published a formal Attorney General Opinion today regarding whether state and local law enforcement can enforce a tribal protection order that has not been registered with the court system. The opinion had been requested by Commissioner Folger, Department of Public Safety in order to provide clarity to the State Troopers in carrying out their duties.

This Opinion concludes that a tribal protection order does not need to be registered with the court system before a State trooper or other officer can enforce it. The protection order will be immediately enforceable if it meets the criteria outlined in the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

“This Opinion provides clear direction to officers on the ground as well as the victims they seek to protect,” said Attorney General Richards. “There should now be no doubt that these protection orders must be enforced.

Opinion available here Opinion Alaska Tribal Protection Orders

News coverage here .

Law School Clinical Assistance Webinar on VAWA Enhanced Jurisdiction


This webinar will focus on ways for law school clinics to provide assistance to tribes seeking to exercise the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 2013 enhanced jurisdiction. Indian tribes now have the general authority to implement criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who violate protective orders or commit domestic violence or dating violence against Indian victims on tribal lands. Tribes wishing to exercise this Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction over non-Indians (SDVCJ) must provide certain rights to criminal defendants and meet certain legal requirements.

Seattle U.’s VAWA Panel


Here’s a picture from Seattle University School of Law’s very inspiring VAWA Panel tonight. Left to right, the panelists were Molly Cohan, Sharon Jones Hayden, Alfred Urbina, and Ye-Ting Woo. Most of the handouts are here.

Among the many things I learned is that the one of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s first VAWA cases involved a same-sex couple. It was originally thought that this case might turn out to be the first tribal VAWA case to go through the federal habeas process and to eventually reach the Supreme Court, but the jury was uncertain as to whether the victim and defendant were in an intimate relationship as required by VAWA and so the defendant was acquitted. Given that the defendant and victim lived together and had a sexual relationship, this skepticism is troubling and, sadly, may reflect unconscious homophobia. There are still many positives, however. Despite the acquittal, the case helps shed light on a hidden problem–same-sex domestic violence is still a little-known and rarely mentioned phenomenon. Kudos to Pascua Yaqui for bringing the case. The prosecutorial response on its own was undoubtedly meaningful to the victim. And, given the jury’s acquittal, the case stands as a strong example of a tribal jury’s impartial treatment of a non-member.

There was also an important discussion of the holes in VAWA, including the lack of tribes’ ability under VAWA to prosecute crimes against children as well as stranger rape. Many of the more serious recent domestic violence crimes committed by nonmembers at both Tulalip and Pascua Yaqui involved crimes against children, but tribes cannot prosecute crimes against children under VAWA, so they must depend on the federal government (or the state in Public Law states) for prosecution of these crimes.