Editorial: Unjust criminal system in Indian Country
"It was tragic, what happened Aug. 27. On that day, two men were walking between Whiteclay, Nebr., and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Both were killed by a drunk driver.

It was tragic, what happened just a week ago when the man that drove drunk and killed them was sentenced to 51 months in a federal prison. That’s just better than four years.

Timothy Hotz, a 61-year-old Nebraska man, plead guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter for killing Robert Whirlwind Horse, 23, of Manderson and Calonnie Randall, 26, of Wanblee.

Two things should be on the table for discussion, and probably change. First, why is a man with three driving under the influence convictions on the road at all? And, secondly, why was this the best sentence the U.S. District Court could hand out when the states could have done so much better?

Several people questioned the sentence. We would expect families and friends of the victims to question the sentence for the rest of their lives; we would expect law enforcement —working so many hours to keep drunk drivers off the road — to find these cases frustrating, to say the least."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Tragedies can't be allowed to continue (The Rapid City Journal 4/7)

Related Stories:
Man sentenced for deaths on Pine Ridge Reservation (3/31)