Home Portland Press Releases 2013 Department of Justice Releases Report to Congress on Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions

Department of Justice Releases Report to Congress on Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions
Report to Congress Shows Increased Federal Prosecutions on Oregon’s Indian Reservations

U.S. Attorney’s Office May 30, 2013
  • District of Oregon (503) 727-1000

PORTLAND, OR—The Department of Justice released today a report to Congress titled Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions that provides a range of statistics related to federal law enforcement operations in Indian Country in 2011 and 2012. The report, which is based on data compiled by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the FBI, shows a 54 percent increase in Indian Country criminal prosecutions nationally 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.”

“While the numbers are gratifying, they are only a small part of the story. What we are most proud of is the way tribal leaders and Justice officials have worked together in recent years to find and implement responses to violent crime in Indian Country,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. “From the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA); the Violence Against Women Act; and inter-agency collaboration in both prevention and enforcement, we have come a long way. Here in Oregon, I am especially proud of the way our office has worked to not only fight crime but also to provide technical expertise, training, consultation, and prosecution resources to assist tribes in exercising their law enforcement, sentencing, and jurisdictional authority. We have a proud tradition of honoring our trust responsibility to Oregon Tribes. From the country’s first tribal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program at Warm Springs to the nation’s first tribal court sentencing to the Bureau of Prisons under the provisions of the TLOA by the Umatilla Tribe, our partnerships with tribes have paved the way for significant improvements to public safety in Indian Country. I am confident that we will continue to blaze new trails to ensure that reservations in Oregon are safe places for children and families.”

In Oregon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has the responsibility to prosecute major crimes on the Burns-Paiute Indian Reservation, the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The report shows that in 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon prosecuted 31 Indian Country cases and declined 17 cases, for a declination rate of 35% percent. In 2012, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon prosecuted 50 Indian Country cases and declined nine cases, for a declination rate of 15 percent. Cases were declined for numerous reasons, such as the suspect being prosecuted in tribal court instead of federal court or the lack of sufficient evidence to proceed with a federal prosecution.

Major crimes in Indian Country are investigated jointly by tribal law enforcement officers and FBI agents. The number of Indian Country prosecutions in Oregon has increased significantly in the past two years due to partnerships between tribal and federal law enforcement officers. For example, in Warm Springs, a multi-disciplinary team of social workers, tribal prosecutors, tribal detectives, FBI agents, and federal prosecutors meets monthly to review and evaluate ongoing child abuse investigations. Additionally, a lawyer from the Umatilla Indian Reservation was commissioned last year as a Special Assistant United States Attorney to prosecute federal crimes and help coordinate joint tribal-federal investigations of major crimes. Additionally, U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall travels annually to consult with leaders from all nine of Oregon’s Tribal Nations to listen to their concerns about public safety in their communities. Ms. Marshall also serves on the Attorney General’s Native American Advisory Committee and chairs the Juvenile Justice in Indian Country Working Group.

Read the entire report at http://www.justice.gov/tribal/tloa-report-cy-2011-2012.pdf.

Read more about the Justice Department’s efforts to increase public safety in Indian Country at http://www.justice.gov/tribal/accomplishments.html.