December 19, 2014

TRIBAL JUSTICE NEWS: Nov. 14 – 18, 2011

INDIAN COUNTRY PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVES



U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District Of Montana Announces The Creation Of The “Native Shield Initiative”


U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced today the creation of a new initiative, the Native Shield Initiative, in partnership with county and tribal authorities in Montana.  The initiative is designed to help protect Indian women from physical and sexual violence. The new Initiative encourages the U.S. Attorney’s Office to focus on existing federal statutes that give the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute misdemeanor domestic assaults committed by a non-Indian perpetrator against an Indian victim.  The Initiative also promotes prosecutions of habitual domestic violent offenders under 18 U.S.C. § 117.  In support of the Native Shield Initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has committed to providing the following to its tribal and county law enforcement partners: training on how to submit misdemeanor domestic violence cases directly to the U.S. Attorney’s Office; training in the investigation and prosecution of crimes against women; and training on the resources available for those entities, including potentially entering into collaborative agreements with tribal and county law enforcement.


For more information: www.justice.gov/usao/mt/



Massena Man Arrested on St. Regis Mohawk Reservation Sentenced for Attempted Enticement of a Minor (U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York)


Joint Federal-Tribal Investigation Leads to Prison Sentence for Former Upstate New York School Coach


U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge James Spero announced on Nov. 15, 2011 that Christopher Morin, 40, of Massena, N.Y., was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment and a term of supervised release of life. Morin was found guilty of Attempted Sexual Enticement of a Minor in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b).  Morin was arrested on Aug. 14, 2010, after an undercover investigation by Homeland Security Investigations.  The undercover investigation began when federal agents obtained consent to assume control of a 15-year-old girl’s cellular phone and Facebook account. Morin was arrested after arriving at a gas station on the Saint Regis Mohawk Reservation believing he was going to meet the minor girl. As part of the Court’s judgment, Morin is required to register as a sex offender and was ordered not to have contact with minors. The prosecution of Morin was the result of a joint investigation with Homeland Security Investigations, the Massena Police Department, the Saint Regis Tribal Police and the New York State Police.


www.justice.gov/usao/nyn/news/1508-2968-654041472.pdf


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DRUG AND FIREARMS ENFORCEMENT



Hardin Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana)


U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Billings, Mont., on Nov. 17, 2011, Sara Lynn Wegner, 29, of Hardin, Mont., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  Sentencing has been set for Feb. 17, 2012. Wegner faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release.


Dodge Man Sentenced for Firearm Charges (U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Nov. 14, 2011, Dustin Wolff, 36, of Dodge, North Dakota, was sentenced on a charge of possession of an illegal firearm and a charge of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. Wolff was in possession of a shotgun that had been cut to a barrel length of approximately 11 inches and overall length of approximately 16 inches. It is illegal to possess a shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length or an overall length of 26 inches. Wolff is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to two felony convictions. He was sentenced to serve two years and six months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.


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PUBLIC CORRUPTION



Northern Arapaho Woman Sentenced for Embezzlement or Converting Monies from an Organization Receiving Federal Funds and Aiding and Abetting (U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming)


U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Crofts announced that on Nov. 18, 2011, Amanda Addison, 33, a former Northern Arapaho Department of Social Services Payroll Clerk, from the Wind River Indian Reservation, appeared in Federal District Court for sentencing before Federal District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson. Addison was found guilty after trial by jury in July 2011, on one count of embezzling or converting monies from an organization receiving federal funds and aiding and abetting. Addison was sentenced to 12 months plus one day in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. The court ruled restitution is mandatory and a separate hearing to address restitution will be scheduled within 10 days.



Clark Man Pleads Guilty to Theft from an Indian Tribe and Tribal Organization

Donald Dunlavy (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Donald Dunlavy, 70, of Clark, S.D., pleaded guilty on Nov. 14, 2011, to a superseding information that charged him with theft from an Indian Tribe and Tribal Organization.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is one year in prison, a $100,000 fine or both.  The charge relates to Dunlavy, and others, conspiring to disguise Dunlavy’s cattle as cattle owned by a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member by branding the cattle with a co-conspirator’s brand.  This allowed Dunlavy, and others, to obtain grazing privileges from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to pasture non-Indian-owned cattle on tribally owned grazing range units.  They did this by falsely claiming that the cattle were owned by Cheyenne River Sioux tribal members and thereby avoided paying the $6 per head, per month, Cheyenne River Sioux fee.  Sentencing was set for Feb. 3, 2012.



Eagle Butte Woman Sentenced for False Statements (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that an Eagle Butte woman charged with False Statement to a Federal Agency was sentenced on Nov. 15, 2011.  Miranda Marshall, a/k/a Randi Marshall, age 32, was sentenced to four years of probation, restitution in the amount of $8,910 to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and a $100 special assessment to the Victim Assistance Fund.

Marshall was indicted for two counts of False Statements by a federal grand jury on March 8, 2011. The charges relate to Miranda Marshall making a false statement to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to obtain grazing privileges on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation to pasture non-Indian owned cattle on tribally owned grazing range units by falsely claiming that she owned the cattle and livestock as a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member.  This scheme allowed Marshall to avoid paying the $6 per head, per month, Cheyenne River Sioux fee, thereby defrauding the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of approximately $8,910 in grazing fees and taxes.  Marshall pleaded guilty to one count of the indictment on Aug. 16, 2011.



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WILDLIFE CRIMES



Kewa Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty To Violating Bald And Golden Eagle Protection Act (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico)


U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales announced that on Nov. 16 Martin Aguilar, 47, a member of the Kewa Pueblo, formerly known as Santo Domingo Pueblo, pleaded guilty to violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In his plea agreement, Aguilar admitted that, on Feb. 6, he shot one eagle and his son shot another.  Aguilar took the bald eagles to his home where he removed the feathers from the eagles and kept the feathers in his home. Aguilar acknowledged that he had not applied for or obtained permission to kill, take or possess a bald eagle from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as required by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. He faces a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment, one year of supervised release and a $100,000 fine for the unlawful taking of a bald eagle, and a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment, one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for the unlawful possession of a bald eagle.



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VIOLENT CRIME PROSECUTION



Dodson Man Pleads Guilty to Domestic Violence Offense (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)        


U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on Nov. 18, 2011, Richard Davie Martinez, 31, of Dodson, pleaded guilty to assault by striking, beating or wounding.  Martinez was sentenced to six months in prison (with 2 months suspended  - the 2 suspended months will be dismissed if within a year Martinez completes anger management and chemical dependency programs satisfactory to the United States) to be followed by one year of supervised release.  In an offer of proof, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following: on Aug. 2, 2011, at approximately 2:00 a.m. after an argument with his domestic partner, Martinez returned to the home he shared with the victim and kicked in the door.  He threw a lighter and hit the victim in the face.  Martinez then began choking the victim until she could not breathe.  When the victim tried to escape with the two children she tried to go out the back as Martinez had locked the front door.  Martinez struck the victim on the head and the face.  The victim suffered bruising on her face and a possible broken nose.  The incident occurred on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.


The charges in this case were brought as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Native Shield Initiative.  The Initiative is designed to help protect Indian women from physical and sexual violence committed by a non-Indian perpetrator against an Indian victim.  The Initiative asks the U.S. Attorney's Office to focus on existing federal statutes that give the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute misdemeanor domestic assaults. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute crimes of physical and sexual violence perpetrated against women in Indian Country.



Two Redby Men Plead Guilty In Connection To November 2010 Killing (U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota)


On Nov. 17, in federal court, two men from the town of Redby pleaded guilty in connection to the Nov. 3, 2010, killing of one man and the wounding of two others on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. On the day their jury trial was scheduled to begin, Donald Leigh Clark, Jr., 23, pleaded guilty to one count of discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, specifically the shooting of Julian Keith DeMarrias. Clark’s co-defendant Cruze Anthony White, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter for aiding and abetting Clark. For their crimes, Clark faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison, with a

mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years. White faces a potential maximum penalty of 15 years.


www.justice.gov/usao/mn/clark,whiteplea.html



Mission Man Pleads Guilty to Interstate Domestic Violence (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Aaron Young, 28, of Mission, S.D., pleaded guilty to Interstate Domestic Violence on Nov. 15, 2011.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is 5 years' imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both. On Feb. 13, 2011, Young invited the victim to go for a drive from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation to Valentine, Neb. Young struck the victim across the chest multiple times in order to make her comply with his directions. The route that Young directed the victim to drive caused her to enter and exit Indian country several times. A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for Feb. 6, 2012.  The defendant was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.



Navajo Man Receives 18 Month Prison Sentence for Federal Assault Conviction (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico)


U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that Lukacema Gillie Yazzie, a 25-year-old enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, was sentenced to an 18-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on an assault charge. Yazzie also was ordered to pay $10,008 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and $130 to the victim of his assault to cover the costs of the victim’s medical care.

Yazzie was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in a criminal complaint on Dec. 13, 2010. Yazzie admitted that, on Dec. 8, 2010, he stabbed a member of the Mescalero Apache Nation in Shiprock, N.M., which is located in the Navajo Indian Reservation.



Eastern Shoshone Woman Sentenced for Forcibly Assaulting and Resisting a Federal Law Enforcement Officer (U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming)


U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Crofts announced that on Nov. 17, 2011, Menyan Dresser, 32, an enrolled Eastern Shoshone from the Wind River Indian Reservation, appeared in federal court for sentencing on a single count of forcibly assaulting and resisting a federal law enforcement officer. Dresser was sentenced to 70 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $100.00 special assessment and restitution in the amount of $3,350.26. The charge stemmed from an offense which occurred on July 13, 2011, on the Wind River Indian Reservation and involved officers from the Wind River Police Department and Agents of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This case was investigated by the Wind River Police Department and the FBI.



Worley Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Two People on Coeur D'Alene Reservation (U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho)


U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced that Timothy R. Allen, Jr., 19, of Worley, Idaho, pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. Allen admitted in court that on March 12, 2011, on the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation, he intentionally assaulted one victim with a firearm by forcefully pushing the weapon into his body and verbally threatening him. Allen also admitted to intentionally assaulting another victim by pointing the firearm at her and verbally threatening her. Allen faces up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release, on each count.



Mission Man Pleads Guilty to Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Michael Yellow Eagle, 55, of Mission, S.D., pleaded guilty to Failure to Register as a Sex Offender on Nov. 15, 2011.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. In 2002, Michael Yellow Eagle was convicted of felony Gross Sexual Imposition in the state of Ohio.  The Court sentenced Yellow Eagle to a one year prison term and ordered that he register as a sex offender. Yellow Eagle was required to register annually and within seven days of relocating to a new residence for a period of 10 years after his release. In 2008, after Yellow Eagle was released from prison, he traveled to the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation but did not register as a sex offender until Aug. 31, 2011.  Sentencing was set for Feb. 6, 2011.  The defendant was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.



Red Lake man pleads guilty to assaulting a woman (U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota)


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota announced that David James Cooke,  32, of Red Lake, pleaded guilty to assaulting a female resident of the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Immediately before his trial was scheduled to begin, David James Cook pleaded guilty to one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. For his crime, Cook faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison.



Red Lake man pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with 2009 incident (U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota)


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota announced that Kyle Mitchell Lee Hardy, 21, of Red Lake, pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of a teenage girl following an automobile crash that occurred between Redby and Ponemah on Aug. 28, 2009. Hardy was indicted on June 7, 2011. In his plea agreement, Hardy admitted that on Aug. 28, 2009, he drove a pickup truck off the road within the boundaries of the Red Lake Indian Reservation while under the influence of alcohol. Two juveniles riding in the truck’s open bed were thrown out. One of them died while the other suffered a broken ankle. For his crime, Hardy faces a potential maximum penalty of eight years in federal prison.



Navajo Woman Pleads Guilty To Felony Child Abuse (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico)


U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that Katrina Martinez, 26, pleaded guilty on Nov. 14, 2011, to one count of felony child abuse in Albuquerque federal court.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, Martinez will be sentenced to a term of not less than 33 months in prison and not more than 41 months to be followed by not more than three years of supervised release.  Martinez, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, is in federal custody and remains detained pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  In her plea agreement, Martinez admitted that, on Jan. 1, 2008, she was driving while intoxicated on BIA Route 474 in Apache Corner, N.M.  The passengers in her vehicle included her common-law husband, who was in the front passenger seat, and her two children, a three-year-old and a two-year-old, who were in the back seat.  Martinez admitted that, after a brief stop, she drove off at a high rate of speed and lost control of her vehicle, causing it to flip over a number of times.  Her three-year-old son was thrown from the vehicle and sustained serious injuries. 



Rosebud Man Sentenced on Assault Charge (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Rosebud man charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon was sentenced on Nov. 14, 2011.  Merle Left Hand Bull, 60, was sentenced to 43 months in custody, three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment to the Victim Assistance Fund.  Left Hand Bull was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 22, 2011.     

On Sep. 3, 2009, Left Hand Bull and the victim were together near the Grass Mountain community in Todd County.  They had a disagreement, and the victim departed his company and walked down a nearby roadway.  The defendant was upset that the victim had been having telephone contact with another man and eventually pursued her and encountered her along the roadway and beat her, including kicking her with his boots.  The victim was found along the roadway, and a good samaritan took her to the hospital.  The victim had injuries, including a fractured nose, a fracture in the wall of her left orbit and a large amount of soft tissue swelling, including hematomas and abrasions on her jaw area and around her eye.  She also had a cut on her right arm.



Federal Court Arraignments (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)


The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on Nov. 17, 2011, the following individuals were arraigned:


Preston Keith Jackson, Sr., 23, of Wolf Point, appeared on a charge of burglary within the exterior boundaries of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.  He is currently detained.  If convicted of this charge, Jackson faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $50,000 fine and three years supervised release. 


Jonathan Alexander Headcarrier, 21, of Browning, appeared on a charge of abusive sexual contact within the exterior boundaries of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.  He is currently detained.  If convicted of this charge, Headcarrier faces possible penalties of a minimum of 30 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $250,000 fine and five years supervised release. 



Three Defendants Plead Guilty In Federal Court in Separate Felony Assaults In Warm Springs (U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon)


Three defendants pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court in Portland to separate felony assaults that occurred on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.


On Nov. 14, 2011, Doriann L. Miller, (A.K.A., Doriann L. Allen) 23, of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, pleaded guilty to one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The maximum sentence the Court can impose is ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release. According to the prosecutor’s statements in court, Miller was attempting to elude a police officer at a high rate of speed when she lost control of her vehicle and crashed. As a result of the crash, one of the passengers in Miller’s car was paralyzed.  An analysis of a blood draw from Miller after the crash revealed that her Blood Alcohol Content was 0.187, far in excess of the legal limit. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2012.


On Nov. 7, 2011, Monty Tewee, 21, of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, pleaded guilty to one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The maximum sentence the Court can impose is ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release. According to the prosecutor’s statements in court, Tewee assaulted his five-week old baby by squeezing the baby, which caused the baby to suffer multiple broken ribs, a lacerated liver and extreme physical pain. The extent of the baby’s injuries required him to be air lifted from St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland for specialized trauma care. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2012.


On Nov. 7, 2011, Krystal Lee Finnley, 20, of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, pleaded guilty  to one count of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm. The maximum sentence the Court can impose is 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release. According to the prosecutor’s statements in court, Finnley went to confront the victim about a past dispute. After a short conversation, Finnley took a knife from her pocket and sliced the throat of the victim. The victim almost died, but survived after he received 11 staples in his neck to close the wound. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2012.


Fourteen-Year Sentence for Sexual Assault (U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Nov. 14, 2011, Patrick E. Zahn, 29, of Fort Yates, N.D., was sentenced on a charge of aggravated sexual abuse by force for forcing a woman to participate in a sexual act on June 27, 2011, in Fort Yates.  Zahn pleaded guilty to the charge on Aug. 24, 2011.  Judge Hovland sentenced Zahn to 14 years in federal prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Zahn was ordered to pay $1429.67 in restitution and must pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund.  Zahn was ordered to register as a sex offender.


Fort Yates Woman Sentenced for Child Abuse (U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Nov. 14, 2011, Sally F. Sees The Elk, 33, of Fort Yates, N.D., was sentenced on a charge of child abuse in Indian country. Sees The Elk pleaded guilty to the charge on Aug. 23, 2011. Judge Hovland sentenced Sees The Elk to two years of probation, which includes four months of home confinement. Sees The Elk was ordered to pay $1298.92 in restitution and to pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund. Sees The Elk admitted that sometime between October 2009 to February 2010 Sees The Elk injured a child by hitting the child.


Rosebud Man Pleads Guilty to Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Frank White Thunder, 24, of Rosebud, appeared on Nov. 15, 2011, and pleaded guilty to an indictment that charged him with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. The charge relates to White Thunder's failure to register and update a registration between June 2, 2011, and Sept. 13, 2011, as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act after being convicted of a sex offense.


Fort Thompson Man Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Austin P. Abernathy, 20, of Fort Thompson, S.D., pleaded guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter on Nov. 14, 2011.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is 8 years' imprisonment, a $250,000 fine or both. On Dec. 5, 2010, Austin P. Abernathy was driving while under the influence of alcohol when he struck the victim.  Abernathy did not stop after the pedestrian/motor vehicle collision. The victim died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision.


Eagle Butte Man Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Burglary (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)


U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Cheyne Michael Thompson, 20, of Eagle Butte, appeared in court on Nov. 15, 2011, and pleaded guilty to a count of the Indictment that charged him with Second Degree Burglary.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is 15 years in custody, a $250,000 fine or both. Thompson had performed odd jobs for the victim and was upset with her over a dispute about payment for his services.  He broke into her house while she was gone and stole personal property.

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