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GAO Report Finds U.S. Attorneys Declined 50% of Cases in Indian Country

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A government report found that U.S. Attorney’s Offices declined 50 percent of the cases from American Indian reservations from 2005-2009, the Associated Press reported.

The Government Accountability Office report found that Federal prosecutors resolved 9,000 of the 10,000 cases they got during that period. Half were declined for prosecution and the others were prosecuted or administratively closed, AP reported.

“The most frequent reason for declining cases was weak or insufficient admissible evidence, followed by no evidence of a federal crime, witness problems and a lack of evidence that a suspect had criminal intent,” AP reported.

AP reported that the report came as a result of congressional inquiries in the declination rate.

AP reported that H. Marshall Jarrett, director of the Department of Justice’s executive office of U.S. attorneys, said the declination rates was not indicative of the efforts to imrpove public safety in Indian Country.

“Each case must be evaluated on the evidence available to the prosecutor,” he said in a letter responding to the findings. “Accordingly, it would not be appropriate to use the data contained in this report to promote any kind of prosecutorial quota system or incentives to prosecute a higher number of individuals.”

U.S. attorneys in Arizona, South Dakota, New Mexico, Montana and North Dakota received 73 percent of all Indian Country criminal matters, AP reported.

To read report click here.


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