U.S. Department of Justice Declinations of Indian Country Criminal Matters

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reported that crime rates experienced by American Indians are two and a half times higher than those experienced by the general population in the United States. Specifically, from 1992 to 2001 American Indians experienced violent crimes at a rate of 101 violent crimes per 1,000 person annually, compared to the national rate of 41 per 1,000 persons. The federal government plays a major role in prosecuting crimes committed in Indian country. For example, unless a federal statute has granted the state jurisdiction, ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. December 13, 2010.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reported that crime rates experienced by American Indians are two and a half times higher than those experienced by the general population in the United States. Specifically, from 1992 to 2001 American Indians experienced violent crimes at a rate of 101 violent crimes per 1,000 person annually, compared to the national rate of 41 per 1,000 persons. The federal government plays a major role in prosecuting crimes committed in Indian country. For example, unless a federal statute has granted the state jurisdiction, the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians in Indian country, while the federal government and tribal governments both have jurisdiction to prosecute Indian offenders who commit crimes in Indian country. Federal prosecution, however, carries with it the possibility of greater terms of imprisonment, as tribal courts are statutorily limited to a maximum of 3 years imprisonment per offense, regardless of the severity of the offense, for example, a homicide. Because of such jurisdictional and sentencing limitations, tribal communities rely on the federal government to investigate and prosecute a variety of crimes in Indian country. Members of Congress have raised questions over recent press reports that federal prosecutors have declined to prosecute a significant percentage of Indian country criminal investigations that have been referred to their offices, and Congress asked us to review this issue. This report addresses the following questions: 1) How many Indian country matters were referred to U.S. Attorneys' offices and what were the declination rates for those matters for fiscal years 2005 through 2009? 2) What are the reasons for the declinations as recorded in the Department of Justice's case management system?"

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • December 13, 2010

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. U.S. Department of Justice Declinations of Indian Country Criminal Matters, text, December 13, 2010; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298226/: accessed July 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.