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Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 895
Attn: Forum Members with Knowledge of American Tribal Law...  Reply with quote  

Specifically the actual process of going to tribal court. Is it more like that of Americas assembly line style judicial system and the "the defendants are just a file and the only thing that matters is can I get a win and how do I do it while giving the harshest plea possible regardless of whatever significant stiplations surrounding the case there are" public servants we call attorneys?

.... Sorry to rant off topic but a perfect example of this is when police will place a "bait bike" out in front of a liquor store or something, except they'll make sure its a $4,500 Cannondale so they can send the poor bum to prison for 5 years. The cop gets a bigish bust, the A.D.A. get's an open and shut plea case straight to DOC and a win on the record and the private prison industry gets to increase profits by getting another sub-human to work at slave-esque wages. Not to mention when... or IF he makes it out of the system the parole of probation of whatever he would get to help "keep him on the straight and narrow" is actually designed to not only suck money from him but to do so while making it as probable as possible for him to fall back into the system, do not pass go, do not collect $200....

Or is it low key more like you sit in the room with a couple elders and have a conversation? I'm trying to find out from someone who knows first hand. I'll explain more if anyone is at all familiar with tribal courts. Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope all is well with everybody.
Post Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:35 am
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Joined: 12 Dec 2002
Posts: 11631
Location: MI
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i dont believe there is just general 'tribal law' each tribe would have its own set of laws i would imagine
Post Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:59 am
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Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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Tribal courts are still legitimate legal institutions, and they must make themselves juridically compatible with federal courts. This is because the reservation exists in a weird liminal zone above state law but below the federal system. They are not archaic or outmoded places where your violation will be chatted over amongst old dudes. Laws will vary based on the reservation, but obviously the vast majority of laws will be the same. If you committed a crime on the reservation, or against someone from that reservation, then you cannot appeal to move the case to state court as the tribe holds jurisdiction. Unless, per the point above, it was a federal crime. I recommend going to the library and getting some books on federal Indian law. You can also inquire about statutes of Indian law on the reservation. David Getches and Elmer Bennett have good texts on the subject.
Post Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:17 pm
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Joined: 17 Feb 2007
Posts: 602
Location: Aus.
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Not native American, but heres a link talking about Aboriginal tribal law. It may be of some interest to you. I have heard through word of mouth, basically whats outlined in this piece.

I heard they would often be punished under both, the tribal and western laws. Which is contrary to what the article says, at least from my interpretation.
Post Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:58 pm
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Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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Location: Third Coast
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I don't know this, as I am not a legal expert, but I suspect that in the US, because federal law supersedes tribal law, you could not be tried twice for the same crime under the Constitution. Also, felony crimes can be remanded to the state by order of the federal government, especially if the crime was not committed between residents and non-residents of a reservation.

For instance, when I lived in just outside of a reservation I would routinely see tribal police patrolling the roads, and venturing outside of the reservation. I presume the would often serve as backup for off-reservation crimes, but I don't know. Anyway, a civil offense committed on the reservation would be dealt with by the tribal government, with no recourse by the individual. A criminal offense would be dealt with by the tribal government unless 1) the tribal government handed the case over to the state, which was at the tribe's discretion, or 2) the federal government compelled the tribal government to turn over the case. I suspect what all of this boils down to is the relationship between any particular reservation and the state government.
Post Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:41 pm
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