Office of The Prosecutor
The Prosecutor represents "The Tribe" in criminal matters before the Tribal Court - much the same way that a D.A. (or district attorney) represents "The People" in state court. When law-enforcement arrests someone for wrong-doing it is up to the prosecutor to evaluate the merits of the charges and then carry that case through the criminal court process. However, the purpose of this office isn't simply to prosecute everything, rather it is to seek justice within the resources of this office. Sometimes this means referring the case for federal prosecution or maybe dismissing a case, or pleading it to something less than originally charged. Other times, however, it may mean elevating or adding charges, as the injury or damage sustained turns out to be far worse than originally thought. It must always be remembered that the prosecutor was not an eye-witness to the crime, in other words, s/he can only rely upon the witnesses and facts gathered from the scene to evaluate the strengths of the case.
In action, the Prosecutor's Office is guided by balancing what is appropriate to the conduct committed by a defendant and also appropriate for the harm sustained by the victim. Besides the immediate conduct involved, we consider things as far and wide as the criminal past of the defendant as well as any provocation by the victim. Importantly, admissions or acceptance of responsibility by a defendant often garner more favorable treatment, such as a better plea-offer, as this is usually a reflection of the remorse and corrective-potential an offender has.
Once a case is resolved, the sentences requested are geared towards both rehabilitation and deterrence. This typically means a combination of (1) punitive measures such as jail or probation, a fine and/or community-service; along with (2) rehabilitative measures, such as restitution to the victim, counseling and/or substance-abuse treatment. It should be noted that a judge does not have to follow the prosecutor's recommendations. While they generally do, judges have the sole power to reduce or enhance any recommended sentence.
One common misunderstanding about the Prosecutor's Office is that we simply follow the wishes of a victim. First and foremost, the Prosecutor is bound by the law, seeking a justice that is blind to race, gender, power or wealth. Sometimes a victim may want a defendant absolutely maxed, but a careful review of the facts, or the law itself, reveals that such extreme treatment is unfitting. Other times a victim may be too afraid or even unwilling to help in the prosecution of a case. Here again though, the Prosecutor's Office does not automatically dismiss the case. In fact, in some instances, the office may have to compel a victim to help bring a bad and repetitive offender to justice - sometimes through the use of mandatory subpoenas. Indeed, it is recognized that the prosecutor has on occasion to stand-up for a victim even when she no longer has the will to believe in her own self-worth.
In all cases, however, there are special victim-advocates available who can assist with obtaining protection orders, submitting restitution paper-work and refer people for other kinds of assistance, including even an explanation of the criminal process in their case.
For further questions, the Office may be contacted directly, via the main line at 879-6251. On behalf of all the advocates, we thank you for supporting and understanding the important role that this office plays in a quiet and civilized community.
Your Chief Prosecutor, Allen Osburn