US Attorney Eid: Restore jurisdiction to tribes

"Recently, I became the first sitting U.S. Attorney to propose, in a national article published by the Federal Bar Association, that it is time to revisit the U.S. Supreme Court's earlier decisions on criminal justice.

My idea is that those Indian tribes that so choose, and agree to fully protect criminal defendants' federal constitutional rights, should be permitted to enforce their criminal laws against all persons regardless of race or ethnicity.

The essence of sovereignty for any government is to provide for citizens' basic public safety needs - regardless of whether the affected community is located on or off an Indian reservation. Indian reservations are too often safe havens for violent crime because of federal neglect, inconsistency and broken promises.

I stress that these are my own personal ideas, not Justice Department policy. What I've proposed to my colleagues in federal law enforcement is controversial to say the least.

But whatever becomes of that policy discussion - and it is by no means the only conversation we should have - the need to improve criminal justice in Indian country has never been greater or more urgent. American Indians are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, and an amazing 25 percent of all violent crimes prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys nationally occur on Indian reservations. "

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US Attorney Troy Eid: Criminal justice in Native America (Indian Country Today 6/8)