Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quote of the Day

By Karen Toggery:
“They say we're supposed to have fair and equal justice,” she said. “Where is it?”
Karen is one of the Jamul Indians evicted from her own reservation on March 10. Protesters at that incident were roughly treated, and had asked for criminal charges against the tribe and their security people. Yesterday District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis finally issued her decision about those charges: she declined to file any, saying that it was a civil matter, not a criminal matter. From the San Diego Union report:

“Tribal governments are recognized as sovereign nations,” she said. “Our office is authorized by Congress to prosecute state crimes committed on Indian reservations, but we have no jurisdiction over civil matters. An eviction process is a civil matter.

“Based upon this unique and unusual set of circumstances, our office has declined to file criminal charges against any of the persons involved in the events of March 10, 2007 on the Jamul Indian Reservation.”

Dumanis won't answer questions about her decision, spokesman Paul Levikow said.

I'm no lawyer, and I don't know what the “right” thing to do here is, from a legal perspective. Speaking as an American citizen, though, I can't see any way to claim justice has been served through this decision. Basically our District Attorney has just endorsed all manners of behavior in such “civil” matters. Now that the tribe has learned they can act with impunity, protesters on the reservation can expect to be treated violently. If the casino is ever actually built, protesters will be taking their lives in their hands to protest on the site…

Does that sound like America to you?

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