News and Press Releases

Office of Violence Against Women Announces Agreement to Cross-Designate Tribal Prosecutor for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

June 5, 2012
Contact: Mark E. Salter
Assistant United States Attorney

The Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women announced today that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and North Dakota will be awarded a cooperative agreement to cross-designate a tribal prosecutor to pursue violence against women cases in both tribal and federal courts.  Three other tribes in Nebraska, New Mexico, and Montana also received cooperative agreements. 

The goal of the Tribal Special U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) program is to train eligible tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure, and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable criminal offense is prosecuted in tribal court, federal court, or both.  The program  enables tribal prosecutors to bring violence against women cases in federal court and to serve as co-counsel with federal prosecutors on felony investigations and prosecutions of offenses arising out of their respective tribal communities.

Through this special initiative, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will support salary, travel, and training costs for the tribal SAUSA, who will work in collaboration with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in South Dakota and North Dakota.  This prosecutor will maintain an active violence against women crimes caseload, in tribal and/or federal court, while also helping to promote higher quality investigations, improved training, and better inter-governmental communication.

“My office has been engaged in an active effort for two years to designate tribal prosecutors as Special Assistant US Attorneys.  As part of our Community Prosecution Strategy, we have already designated prosecutors for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, as well as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as SAUSAs,”  US Attorney Johnson said.  “These additional resources will enhance our effort to ensure greater cooperation and coordination between our office and the prosecutors in the local tribal communities we serve.”

The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from the Department's 2009 Tribal Nation Listening Session on Public Safety and Law Enforcement, and its annual tribal consultation on violence against women.  The Tribal SAUSA initiative is another step in the Justice Department's ongoing efforts to increase engagement, coordination, and action on public safety in tribal communities, and represents a partnership between the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), the Executive Office of US Attorney's (EOUSA), and the US Attorney's Offices South Dakota and North Dakota.



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