Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Friday the formation and inaugural meeting of the Violence Against Women Federal and Tribal Prosecution Task Force, fulfilling a pledge he made during the Justice Department's Tribal Nations Listening Session in October 2009.
“We know too well that tribal communities face unique law enforcement challenges and are struggling to reverse unacceptable rates of violence against women and children,” Holder said in a prepared statement. “The creation of the Violence Against Women Tribal Prosecution Task Force has been a priority for me since my visit with tribal leaders last year, and I believe it is a critical step in our work to improve public safety and strengthen coordination and collaboration concerning prosecution strategies with tribal communities.”
The task force will be chaired by Nebraska U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Gilg and include:
* Tribal Prosecutor Diane S. Cabrera, Crow Tribe of Montana
* Assistant U.S. Attorney Glynette R. Carson McNabb, District of New Mexico
* Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg S. Peterman, District of South Dakota
* Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Roe, Western District of Washington
* Assistant U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins, District of Utah
* Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia Hurd, District of Montana
* DOJ's National Indian Country Training Coordinator Leslie A. Hagen
* Deputy Attorney General M. Brent Leonhard, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation or Oregon
* Chief Judge Theresa M. Pouley, Tulalip Tribal Court of Washington State
* Chief Prosecutor Sheri Freemont, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian of Arizona
* Tribal Attorney Michelle Rivard Parks, Spirit Lake Tribe of North Dakota
* Staff Attorney Joshua Breedlove, Mississippi ChoctawThe task force also will include a group of advisors and liaisons from the
Office of Violence Against Women, health care professionals and law enforcement officials.
The committee is supposed to produce a trial practice manual on the federal prosecution of offenses related to violence against women in Indian Country within one year. In addition, the task force will explore issues raised by professionals in the field and recommend ways for prosecutors to approach crimes involving domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.