HomeNieuwsFourth Tribal Court trial advocacy training session

FOURTH TRIBAL COURT TRIAL ADVOCACY TRAINING SESSION ON JUNE 23-26 IN ALBUQUERQUE

Native women at VAWA signing in Washington  on March 7, 2014.

Training to focus on DUI pre-trial writing and advocacy skills, includes a roundtable discussion on the Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON— The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services (OJS) will hold its fourth trial advocacy training session of 2014 for tribal court personnel on June 23-26, 2014, in Albuquerque, N.M.  This unique session widens the parameters of previous training sessions, by focusing on pre-trial writing and advocacy skills using a DUI fact pattern and the laws of the Navajo Nation.

Because of a high level of interest, OJS is offering legal training it successfully held in 2012 and 2013 to new groups of tribal court judges, prosecutors, public defenders and other court personnel to improve their trial advocacy skills.  Training to-date has focused on case studies involving illegal narcotics, domestic violence and sexual assault on adults and children.  This month’s writing session in Albuquerque is a result of a collaborative effort between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and participants who have attended past sessions.  In addition, each session includes a roundtable discussion on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with a panel of tribal attorneys who have first-hand knowledge of the requirements of that law’s jurisdictional pilot project application.

The three training sessions held this year and their topics are:  Jan. 27-30, Albuquerque, New Mexico (sexual assault on adults); March 31-April 3, Denver, Colorado (illegal narcotics) and May 19-22, Helena, Montana (domestic violence).

A component of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, the Tribal Court Trial Advocacy Training Program is a joint effort by the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Justice to further the Act’s mandate to strengthen tribal sovereignty over criminal justice matters on federal Indian lands by sharpening the skills of those who practice within the tribal court system.

The program is the result of a collaborative effort by OJS and the DOJ’s Access to Justice Initiative to offer trial advocacy training with courses designed specifically for tribal courts and free training to the judges, public defenders and prosecutors who work in them.  Training is conducted by working law professionals using instructional materials prepared by experts knowledgeable about tribal court issues. The program is unique for its public defenders training and now has specific training for tribal judges.

President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act on March 7, 2013.  It includes important provisions for federally recognized tribes to combat violence against Native women, such as homicide, rape, assault and battery in the home, workplace and on school campuses throughout Indian country.

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