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TRIBAL JUSTICE NEWS
Feb. 28, 2012

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INDIAN COUNTRY PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVES

U.S. Attorney's Office, DOVES and the Confederated Salish And Kootenai Tribes' Victim Assistance Program Announce Its First Collaborative Domestic Violence Training (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)

U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced today that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Montana, along with the Lake County, Mont., Domestic Violence Education and Services Organization (DOVES) and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Victim Assistance Program, are hosting a day-long training at the Joe McDonald Health and Fitness Center, in Pablo, Mont., on the topic of quelling domestic violence. Law enforcement and advocates from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Lake County, and Sanders County are the invited participants. Topics expected to be discussed during daylong conference include: domestic violence case law and policy update; victim-advocate privilege; predominate aggressor - theory and practice; report writing and evidence based prosecution; and firearms and orders of protection. Training faculty includes staff from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Montana, the FBI, the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Montana Law Enforcement Academy.

Exposed to Violence Project Announce Its First Collaborative Domestic Violence Training (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)

U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana and Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project provided a domestic violence training for law enforcement and court personnel from Rocky Boy’s and Fort Belknap. The Chippewa Cree Tribe's Division of Human Services received a demonstration and planning grant, entitled “Rocky Boy's Children Exposed to Violence Project,” that was awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) under the Defending Childhood Initiative. The training lasted for two days, Feb. 21-22, at the Vo-Tech at Stone Child College in Box Elder, Mont. Topics included Evidence Based Prosecution/Tips on Report Writing; Predominate Aggressor - Theory and Practice; What is Strangulation and Asphyxiation?; Tribal Codes; Firearms and Orders of Protection; Dos and Don’ts of Testifying; Victim Services Available from the State of Montana; and a Peacemaker Panel.

PUBLIC CORRUPTION

Former Gila River Council Member Ordered to Repay Over $38,000 to Tribal Organization (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)

U.S. District Judge Howard D. McKibben sentenced Franklin J. Jackson, Sr., 63, of Bapchule, Ariz., to five years probation, $38,893 restitution and 100 hours community service on Feb. 23, 2012. Jackson previously pleaded guilty to embezzlement from a tribal organization. He admitted that he embezzled funds from the Gila River Indian Community’s Lone Butte Industrial Development Corporation (LBIDC) by submitting fraudulent expense and stipend claims.

VIOLENT CRIME PROSECUTION

Red Lake Man Indicted for Assaulting a Man with an Axe Handle (U.S Attorney for the District of Minnesota)

Joseph William Howard Jr., 47, from the Red Lake Indian Reservation, was indicted on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 with one count of assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The indictment alleges that on Jan. 13, 2012, police responded to a call from a residence on Red Lake Indian Reservation where they found the victim who had been badly beaten and sustained face lacerations. A broken and bloody axe was allegedly found in the home. Howard faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison for each charge.

Navajo man sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for Second Degree Murder (U.S Attorney for the District of Arizona)

Joseph Aaron Duncan, 28, of Sawmill, Ariz., and a member of the Navajo Nation Indian Tribe, was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison, followed by a five year term of supervised release on Feb. 22, 2012. Duncan pleaded guilty to Second Degree Murder on Nov. 21, 2011. The incident occurred on April 8, 2011, when Duncan, while in his home, shot the victim in the chest and proceeded to discard of the victim’s body, clothes and his own weapon. The victim’s body was recovered a week later in a wooded area.

Navajo Man Faces Federal Murder Charge (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico)

On Feb. 24, 2012, a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Albuquerque, N.M., found probable cause to support a criminal complaint charging Jasper Fernandez, 37, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, with murder. Fernandez is charged with killing Vernita Ann Jose, a 36-year-old Navajo woman, on Nov. 4, 2011. Fernandez allegedly committed the offense in a rural area due south of Farmington, N.M., that is within the boundaries of the Navajo Indian Reservation. Officers identified Fernandez as an individual who had an intimate relation with Jose, and confirmed that he had been with her on the night of Nov. 4, 2011. Fernandez was arrested on Feb. 22, 2012, after making statements to the officers that implicated him in the murder of Ms. Jose.

Lodge Grass, Mont., Man sentenced to 60 months in prison (U.S Attorney for the District of Montana)

The U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana announced that on Feb. 23, 2012, Rudolph Lee Shane, Jr., 30, of Lodge Grass, Mont., was sentenced to 60 months in prison, a $100 special assessment and a lifetime of supervised release. Shane was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea of attempted aggravated sexual abuse. Shane assaulted the victim on Aug. 24, 2010 when the victim was walking at approximately six or seven in the morning.

Belcourt, N.D., man pleads guilty to assaults (U.S Attorney for the District of North Dakota)

U.S Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Feb. 23, 2012, Chet Brunelle, 26, of Belcourt, N.D., pleaded guilty to two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The plea stemmed from an incident that took place on Jan. 7, 2011, when Brunelle became angry with the victim and assaulted him while attending a house party. The victim suffered facial fractures. A second victim, who arrived shortly after the first assault, suffered from facial lacerations. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing for Brunelle has been scheduled for May 21, 2012 in Bismark, N.D.

Hardin, Mont., Woman Sentenced for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Sara Wegner, 29, of Hardin, Mont., was sentenced to 51 months in prison, $100 special assessment, and 3 years supervised release. She previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. The sentencing occurred before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull on Feb. 17, 2012. In February 2010, Wegner began purchasing the drug from an individual who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in federal court and is awaiting sentencing.  She proceeded to use and sell methamphetamine in and around the Crow Indian Reservation. She also admitted to providing this individual and another convicted distributor with rides to Billings to purchase methamphetamine. Due to truth in sentencing guidelines, Wegner will serve all the time imposed by the court.

Northern Arapaho Man Sentenced for Arson and Burglary (U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming)

U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Crofts announced that on Feb. 24, 2012, Norman Ybarra, a 23 year-old Northern Arapaho Tribal member from the Wind River Indian Reservation, was sentenced for his role in the September 2011, arson and burglary of the Arapahoe Baptist Church. Ybarra was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Clarence A. Brimmer to 53 months in prison, five years of supervised release, $200 in court costs and $223,818.14 in restitution. This case was investigated by the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Man Sentenced For Assault with a Dangerous Weapon and Witness Tampering on Indian Reservation (U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan)

A 22-year-old resident of Mount Pleasant, Mich., was sentenced on Feb. 27, 2012 to 50 months in prison for assault with a dangerous weapon with the intent to do bodily injury and witness tampering. U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington also imposed two years of supervised release on Jonathon Moses Pego, who pleaded guilty on Nov. 16, 2011. The evidence at the plea hearing established that in December 2010, Pego stomped his girlfriend in the head numerous times while wearing shoes. Pego then posted threatening messages on Facebook that he knew the victim and several eye-witnesses would see. Pego instructed a fellow inmate who was being released to visit the victim to tell her to “keep her mouth shut about the assault.” The assault occurred on the Isabella Reservation.

Read Recent Blogs on Justice Department initiatives and programs in Indian Country at http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/, or visit the Tribal Justice and Safety Website: www.justice.gov/tribal/.

 


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