Anne Minard – Indian Country – Friday, 07 September 2012 (originally published 03 Sept)
The Hopi Tribal Council voted to adopt a new criminal code on August 28, thereby scrapping a 1970s version that all but failed to punish sex crimes and limited tribal prosecutors to one-year terms, even for murder.
In doing so, the small Arizona tribe emerged as a leader in Indian country when it comes to criminal prosecution.
The new Hopi code incorporates standards outlined in the Tribal Law and Order Act, approved by Congress in 2010. For tribes that will adopt it, the Act offers new tools for addressing crimes, especially violent felonies, which have been on the rise in Indian country and far exceed the national average. It gives more authority to tribal prosecutors – and more flexibility to tribal judges – when it comes to sentencing offenders . . .