US Supreme Court to Decide Whether Tribal Convictions Count
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court says it will decide whether a person with multiple domestic violence convictions in tribal court is eligible for enhanced sentences in the federal system.
The case stems from a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from a Montana case that went against separate court decisions on cases in North Dakota and Utah. The 9th Circuit threw out tribal court convictions against Michael Bryant Jr. because Bryant did not have a lawyer. U.S. attorneys have used the so-called habitual offender statute to bring cases to federal court.
The North Dakota case involves an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation sentenced to five years in prison. Officials with the U.S. attorney's office in Montana didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.