Tribes, feds work to implement law and order act

By Susan Montoya Bryan
Albuquerque, New Mexico (AP) October 2010

Tribal leaders and others gathered in Albuquerque for a national symposium say no one really has a handle on the extent of violent crime in Indian Country, and they’re hoping a new federal law will help them better define and address the problem.

About 150 judges, law enforcement officials and tribal leaders are talking about implementation of the Tribal Law and Order Act.

The dean of the University of New Mexico law school, Kevin Washburn, says having access to information is how tribes will be able to fight crime.

One of the key provisions of the law requires the U.S. Department of Justice to maintain criminal data on cases from Indian Country that U.S. attorneys decline to prosecute. Some say more than 50 percent of cases are declined by federal prosecutors.