U.S. Attorney Mercer Encourages Victims Of Federal Crimes Committed On Tribal Lan
TO SUBMIT INDIAN COUNTRY CASE TRACKER FORMS
United States Attorney Bill Mercer announced today that effective immediately he would accept federal crimes on Indian Country Federal Crime Case Tracker forms directly from crime victims on Montana's reservations.
The case tracker system was implemented in October 2008 in order for tribal government officials to provide prompt disclosure of criminal activity in violation of federal law directly to the U.S. Attorney. Mercer noted, "The first communication about a possible crime needs to be made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement, or tribal law enforcement. However, the case tracker is designed to ensure that no cases fall through the cracks. By informing the U.S. Attorney's Office of a potential case, we can follow-up with the appropriate investigative agency to determine whether an investigation has been undertaken and to facilitate a prompt a resolution of the matter."
The case tracker form, available on the U.S. Attorney's Office website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/mt, seeks only basic information, including the name of the victim, the name of the perpetrator (if known), the date of the offense, and the crime committed. The U.S. Attorney's Office accepts the forms by mail, e-mail, or fax.
During the fifteen months since implementation of the case tracker system, Mercer has encouraged tribal officials to utilize this communication tool. Although he is hopeful that more forms will be submitted by tribal prosecutors, tribal judges, advocates for the prevention of domestic violence, tribal council members, and other tribal employees who have received the case tracker protocol and form, Mercer is now inviting victims to submit the forms to his office. "The purpose is the same, regardless of the source of the form," Mercer stated.
On all Montana reservations except the Flathead, the federal government has jurisdiction to prosecute virtually all felony crimes involving victims, including murder, rape, sexual abuse, burglary, assaults resulting in serious bodily injury, manslaughter, kidnapping, arson, fraud, maiming, robbery and child abuse. The form may also be used to report misdemeanor crimes for which neither the state nor tribe have jurisdiction (e.g., domestic violence committed by a non-Indian against an Indian without serious bodily injury).
Mercer added, "Our goal is to prosecute all readily provable major crimes in Indian Country."
The U.S. Attorney's Federal Prosecution in Indian Country manual is available at www.usdoj.gov/usao/mt if a crime victim has questions whether a particular act constitutes a federal crime.