Defenders Tell Justices BIA Courts Are A 'Tool' of the State

By Victoria McKenzie (December 16, 2021, 2:29 PM EST) -- Criminal defense attorneys around the country have thrown their support behind a Navajo Nation member who says the U.S. Supreme Court should toss his federal indictment for sexual abuse because he was unconstitutionally prosecuted twice for the same crime.

According to an amicus brief filed on Tuesday by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Tenth Circuit mistakenly found that a court operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs was exercising the power of a tribal sovereign nation when it indicted Navajo Nation member Merl Denezpi for assault and battery in 2017.

In fact, said the criminal defenders, the Courts...

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