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Federal Register publishes DOJ Notice on VAWA Tribal Pilot Project

The Department of Justice has posted its Notice of proposed procedures for the VAWA 2013 Tribal Pilot Project.  Review it here.  The DOJ has also released Frequently Asked Questions for the VAWA Tribal Pilot Project.  Review the FAQ’s here.  To participate in the VAWA Tribal Pilot Project, there is a deadline of July 15, 2013 to submit a preliminary expression of interest, although participants can join at a later date.  You can review a one-page summary of VAWA Section 904 here.

The DOJ announced it will launch an Intertribal Technical Assistance Working Group on Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (ITWG).  NCAI is hosting a Pre-Meeting on Monday, June 24th before the start of its 2013 Mid Year Conference in Reno, Nevada.  The Pre-Meeting is dedicated as the 1st Intertribal Working Group Meeting for the VAWA 2013 Implementation Pilot Project. 

This Pre-Meeting will be an excellent opportunity to engage with the DOJ’s lead official on the Pilot Project, Deputy Associate Attorney General Sam Hirsch, as well as engage in dialogue with other interested tribes and consider whether or not to join the Pilot Project.  The Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn will also be in attendance to discuss the role of DOI in the Pilot Project.  The agenda for the Pre-Meeting includes discussion on:  DOJ procedures, jury pools, law-trained judges and public defenders, necessary revisions of tribal codes and procedures, detention, habeas corpus, and implementing SDVCJ on a budget.

A quick summary of the Pilot Project follows:

-  Tribal jurisdiction over non-Indian domestic violence offenders becomes generally available in March of 2015, but tribes can start earlier if approved through the Pilot Project.

-  The Pilot Project is essentially a collaborative workgroup among tribes and the Department of Justice to develop best practices on combating domestic violence and the required criminal procedures. 

-  The Pilot Project will have two phases. Phase One is a planning and assessment phase, which will take place in the summer and fall of 2013.

-  Phase Two is the implementation phase, which will start in late 2013 and run through March 7, 2015. In Phase Two, a tribe seeking approval must complete and submit an Application Questionnaire and relevant excerpts of the tribe’s laws, rules, and policies.

-  To participate in the Pilot Project, a tribe may submit a preliminarily expression of interest, no later than July 15, 2013, simply a short letter to the Justice Department’s Office of Tribal Justice identifying any person(s) the tribe authorizes. 

-  NCAI is holding a first workgroup meeting on June 24th in Reno, Nevada at the Mid Year where you can meet with Justice officials and consider and discuss the Pilot Project.

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