Parnell Proposes More Power for Tribal Courts

FAIRBANKS- During his AFN address, Governor Sean Parnell said he believes tribal courts can handle some cases of domestic violence and drug abuse. In these crimes, defendants could choose a tribal civil proceeding, which could result in tribal punishments. If the offender does not consent, the case would go to the Alaska State Troopers for screening and potential prosecution. The Department of Law will open discussions in the next two weeks and make a proposal for demonstration projects. Parnell also proposed that community panels handle alcohol possession crimes in dry villages. The panels could issue community service punishments. He says with tribal courts and community panels having more responsibility, “we can better ensure safer communities through accountability and through culturally relevant sentencing.”