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First federal court trial held on Navajo Nation

The first-ever federal court trial on the Navajo Nation started on Tuesday in Shiprock, New Mexico.

The case, involving a beating on the Navajo Nation, is not linked to Shiprock but court officials wanted to hold it on the reservation in order to show local residents how the federal judicial process works. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. was among those in attendance as the trial opened.

The federal court, based in Albuquerque, plans to hold more hearings on the reservation. Navajo leaders welcomed the development because most Navajo crimes are handled in the federal system.

In related judicial news, Navajo Nation Council delegates say they may reconsider the tribe's stance on the death penalty in response to recent violent crimes on the reservation. But a survey of Navajos showed that 71 percent oppose capital punishment for tribal members.

Get the Story:
Historic trial begins in Shiprock (The Farmington Daily Times 12/14)
Murders have Din mulling death penalty (The Gallup Independent 12/13)

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