News and Press Releases

Laguna Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Domestic
Assault by a Habitual Offender Charge

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address
the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE – Matthew Louis Brown, 25, pleaded guilty this morning to a domestic assault by a habitual offender charge, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough and DuWayne W. Honahni, Sr., Special Agent in Charge of District IV of BIA’s Office of Justice Services.

Brown, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna who resides in Mesita, N.M., was arrested on Oct. 2, 2013, based on a two-count indictment alleging that (1) he assaulted his intimate partner, a member of the Pueblo of Acoma, and (2) he assaulted the victim causing her serious bodily injury.  Brown was charged federally as a habitual domestic violence offender because he has two prior domestic violence convictions in the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Court.

This morning, Brown pled guilty to Count 1 of the indictment and admitted assaulting the victim, his intimate partner and the mother of his child, by striking her in the face multiple times with a closed fist and kicking her head while she was on the ground.  Brown also admitted that the victim sustained serious bodily injury as a result of his attack and that he committed this crime on July 25, 2011, in a location within the Pueblo of Laguna. 

Court records reflect that Brown previously was convicted on domestic violence charges before the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Court in 2004 and 2008.

Brown was remanded into federal custody after entering his guilty plea and will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Brown faces a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Laguna/Acoma Agency of BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Pueblo of Laguna Police Department and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams.  It was brought pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

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