Colville Tribal Court Hires New Attorney to Lead Defender's Office

Monday I had the pleasure of meeting Daryl Rodrigues, the new lead public defender for the Colville Confederated Tribes.  I also found out that he has a blog entitled Bicker, Back & Forth, PS. His posts from September 22nd and 29th recount his adventures in moving to Coulee Dam.  When I read his bio on his blog, I saw that he is a ’94 grad of Gonzaga Law, and I am a ’95 grad.  I think I remember him.   Daryl is originally from England, and since graduating he has done a lot of work in private practice and he taught at Whitworth a little bit.   I look forward to checking up on his blog to read about his experiences in Tribal Court.

I was sworn in to the bar in the Colville Tribal Courts in 1999 but did not really practice there much until 2002.    I have never practiced there full-time, but I enjoy doing criminal defense work down there, and I do some employment law cases down there too.   The criminal courts in Nespelem only have jurisdiction to prosecute Tribal members or first-line descendants for crimes.  Non-tribal members can still be sued in Tribal Court and can be ticketed for such infractions as speeding or fish and game violations.   I would imagine that one of the projects that Daryl will be faced with in the years to come is working with the Tribe’s nascent juvenile justice code.  Native youths in recent years have had their cases handled in State court, but the Colville Tribal Code envisions that the cases would be handled in tribal court someday.   This would seem to be an improvement.  The Tribal Court would seem to know more about these kids and what problems they face.  Currently, many Native youths are prosecuted in Republic or Okanogan and drive over an hour to  attend a court that is largely unfamiliar with their families and communities.  The courts of Ferry County and Okanogan County also seem to face challenges in monitoring these kids while they are on probation.

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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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