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Press Release

Zuni Pueblo Man Sentenced for Domestic Assault by a Habitual Offender Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

ALBUQUERQUE – Christopher T. Tsalate, 28, was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 14 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his domestic assault by a habitual offender conviction.

Tsalate, a member and resident of Zuni Pueblo, N.M., was arrested on Jan. 11, 2015, on an indictment charging him with domestic assault of an intimate partner by a habitual offender based on his two prior domestic violence convictions in the Pueblo of Zuni Tribal Court.

On April 14, 2015, Tsalate pled guilty to the indictment and admitted assaulting the victim, his spouse, on May 7, 2014, in McKinley County, N.M.

Court records reflect that Tsalate previously was convicted on domestic violence charges before the Zuni Tribal Court in May 2010 and Oct. 2012.  The victim in this case was also the victim in both of the prior tribal court cases.

This case was investigated by the Zuni Pueblo Tribal Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Novaline Wilson. 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.

Updated February 4, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice