ERIC Number: ED161599
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Liberty and Justice for All.
South Dakota State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
In order to assess the quality of justice available to Native Americans in Pennington and Charles Mix counties, South Dakota, investigations were conducted from June through November 1976 with a two-day informal hearing and 130 interviews around the state. Despite progress made during the last few years, Indian people continue to face problems in South Dakota's criminal justice system which place them at a severe disadvantage. Evidence exists of widespread abuse of police power throughout the state, including selective law enforcement, search and arrest without cause, harassment and brutal treatment, arrest of intoxicated persons on disorderly conduct charges, and simple discourtesies. Inexperience, difficulties in communication, and inherent conflicts of interest on the part of defense attorneys often hamper Native American defendants. Rarely do Native Americans serve on juries. This, along with prejudicial attitudes of juries, makes it very difficult to obtain an impartial jury. State-imposed trial delays, a high number of guilty pleas, and possible abuse of the plea bargaining system also testify to inadequacies in the criminal justice system. Twenty-two recommendations are made to alleviate disparities. These include hiring more Native Americans as law enforcement officers to improve communication, reviewing complaints of police misconduct, improving treatment and rehabilitation of alcoholics, training and employing Native American paralegal personnel to assist Indian defendants, and broadening the jury selection system to include a representative proportion of Native Americans on jury panels. (AUTHOR/DS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: South Dakota State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Identifiers: South Dakota
Note: Parts marginally legible due to small type