Department of Justice Releases Report to Congress on Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions
The Department of Justice released today a report to Congress entitled Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions which provides a range of enforcement statistics required under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. The report, based on data compiled from the case management system used by U.S. Attorney’s Offices (USAO) with Indian Country jurisdiction shows among other things a 54 percent increase in Indian Country criminal prosecutions since Fiscal Year 2009.
“Across the country, U.S. Attorneys have been focused on fighting crime in Indian Country and reinforcing the bond between federal and tribal law enforcement, which also strengthens the faith that people have in their criminal justice system,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This report on federal law enforcement efforts in Indian Country is beginning to show the fruits of this labor with an increase in Indian Country cases prosecuted in federal courts over the past three years, but we have more work to do. The department will continue in its commitment to working with our tribal partners to build safe, sustainable, and healthy communities in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.”
“Every day, the men and women from U.S. Attorney’s Offices who prosecute violent crimes in Indian Country work hard to improve public safety in those communities,” said Timothy Purdon, U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota and Chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Native American Issues. “The notable increase in prosecutions of Indian Country crime described in this report are the result of the many initiatives led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, including community prosecution strategies that place federal prosecutors on the reservations on a frequent basis to enhance criminal investigations and communication, and Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney programs that have enhanced coordination with cross-deputized tribal prosecutors. These efforts and the resulting increase in prosecutions are a testament to the Justice Department’s commitment to public safety in Indian Country and they are an encouraging step toward safer, stronger native communities.”
“The FBI has a sustained commitment to enhancing public safety in Indian Country,” said FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko. “As this report demonstrates our investigative strategy is focused on fully leveraging vital partnerships with federal, state, local and tribal agencies to address violent crime and victimization in tribal communities. This approach not only produces investigative results in the short term but also develops the trust and collaboration necessary to ensure sustained enhancements to public safety in the long term.”
The information contained in the report shows the following:
• The Justice Department’s prioritization of Indian country crime has resulted in a notable increase in commitment to overall law enforcement efforts in Indian country. Caseloads have increased overall from 1,091 cases filed in fiscal year (FY) 2009 to 1,138 in FY 2010 to 1,547 in FY 2011 to 1,677 in FY 2012. This represents a nearly 54 percent increase in the Indian country crime caseload.
• USAO data for calendar year (CY) 2011 indicate that just under 37 percent (1,041) of all Indian Country submissions for prosecution (2,840) were declined by USAOs. In CY 2012, USAOs declined approximately 31 percent (965) of all (3,145) Indian Country submissions for prosecution. Overall, a substantial majority of Indian Country criminal cases opened by USAOs were prosecuted.
• The most common reasons for declination by USAOs were insufficient evidence (61 percent in CY 2011 and 52 percent in CY 2012) and referral to another prosecuting authority (19 percent in CY 2011 and 24 percent in CY 2012).
• The most common reasons investigations during calendar years CY 2011 and 2012 were not referred included deaths determined to be due to non-criminal causes (e.g., natural causes, accidents, suicides) and allegations in which there was insufficient evidence to prove criminal activity.
•The report shows a new era of partnership between the federal government and American Indian tribes, including an unprecedented level of collaboration with tribal law enforcement. The increase in collaboration and communication strengthens the bond of trust between federal and tribal investigators, prosecutors, and other personnel in both federal and tribal criminal justice systems, and it will make communities safer as a result.
Read the entire report at www.justice.gov/tribal/tloa-report-cy-2011-2012.pdf
Read about the Justice Department’s efforts to increase public safety in Indian County at www.justice.gov/tribal/accomplishments.html