Tribal VAWA in the News - November

Published on Nov 24, 2014

AG Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence recommends expansion of jurisdiction over non-Indians to include child abuse.

Native American kids need more protection, advisory panel tells Holder in new report
Washington Post
By Sari Horwitz November 17

"A panel of Indian-country experts will recommend to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday that tribes be allowed to criminally prosecute non-Indians who sexually or physically abuse Native American children on tribal land, saying that juveniles on reservations are living with “dire” levels of violence and poverty.

The recommendation addresses a loophole in a law passed by Congress last year. The measure allowed the nation’s 566 federally recognized tribes for the first time to prosecute non-Indians who commit certain crimes of domestic violence against Native Americans in Indian country. But the law,opposed by most Republican lawmakers, does not allow non-Indians to be prosecuted by tribes for abusing Indian children on a reservation.

Closing that loophole is one of 31 wide-ranging recommendations made by the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence in a 120-page report obtained by The Washington Post. The committee, which conducted four public hearings this year — in North Dakota, Arizona, Florida and Alaska — is releasing the report Tuesday morning."

Eastern Band of Cherokee sentences DV offender to 2 years under the Tribal Law & Order Act

Lossiah sentenced to two years
From Cherokee The One Feather (Download original Newspaper)

Jerry Lee Lossiah Jr., 35, was convicted on Oct. 29 in the Cherokee Court for two counts of Violating a Domestic Violence Protective Order and for a Probation Violation from a Domestic Violence Assault conviction and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. 

The sentence, issued by the Honorable Danny E. Davis, Cherokee Court Judge, was yet another multi-year sentence issued by the Cherokee Court following the implementation of the Tribal Law and Order Act which authorized criminal sentences of greater than one year in tribal courts.

Tribal Prosecutor Jason Smith stated, “I want to thank Assistant Tribal Prosecutor Justin Eason, Cherokee Probation Officer John Nations, Cherokee Police Detective Jason Cable, Cherokee Police Officers Bryan Scott Chekelelee and John Taylor, and Domestic Violence Advocate Iva Key for their hard work and dedication to this case and to fighting domestic violence which made this outcome a possibility.

It is critical in this system that Domestic Violence Protective Orders be followed and enforced. This case proves that the Cherokee Court takes violations of these orders very seriously and will punish such violations accordingly.”

Smith added, “To further strengthen the system in cases of Domestic Violence, Cherokee is working hard to implement the provisions of the reauthorized Federal Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (“VAWA 13”) which authorizes the prosecution of cases involving non-native perpetrators of domestic violence. Once Cherokee laws are amended to comply with VAWA 13 requirements, these non-native perpetrators will also be subject to punishment in the Cherokee Court for the commission of domestic violence crimes against enrolled members on EBCI lands.

The sole remaining issue to be resolved is the jury selection process, and the Committee that is working on the necessary changes to the system expects to have that issue resolved and have draft legislation submitted to Tribal Council for consideration this winter.”

- Office of the Tribal Prosecutor 

Subscribe to our News RSS