BISMARCK, N.D. — The five federally recognized tribes in North Dakota want a say in who will become the next U.S. attorney for the state.
A resolution passed at a United Tribes meeting June 2 asks that the tribes be included in the “selection, interview and decision-making process” for this decision and all future choices for the top prosecutor position, the Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/2r9FDHi ) reported.
The resolution says the tribes should be consulted on who the federal prosecutor is because that person is solely responsible for charging the most severe crimes on reservations.
“Every other community in North Dakota has a democratic process available to select their local and state prosecutors,” the tribes wrote. “The U.S. attorney effectively serves as our local prosecutor, yet we have no democratic role in electing or hiring them.”
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said the reservation has been dealing with multiple serious crimes, including methamphetamine use as well as domestic and sexual abuse. He said a good U.S. attorney would have a special prosecutor, who can work in tribal and federal court and help decide which cases should be charged in Bismarck, where the penalties are steeper.
Standing Rock has had a prosecuting position for several years, but it is currently vacant.
“That makes a world of difference when we start talking about fairness for our membership,” Archambault said.
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said he received the letter Tuesday, but by then he had already recommended former U.S. Attorney and Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley for the position.
“I’ve met with all of them (tribes) since the process has started,” Hoeven said. “Nobody brought it up to me.”
Hoeven said he would take future tribal input for candidates under advisement, but recommended they contact the Department of Justice if they want to give input this year.
Chris Myers, the current U.S. attorney for North Dakota, will serve in the position until the U.S. Senate confirms the nominee, who President Donald Trump will pick.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com