Cherokee Supreme Court Chief Justice William Boyum was recently named as a voting member to the Tribal Issues Advisory Group (TIAG), an ad hoc advisory group to the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC). The USSC is a presidentially-appointed agency that advises and assists Congress and the Executive Branch in developing effective and efficient crime policy.
The TIAG is tasked with improving the operations of the federal sentencing guidelines as they relate to American Indian defendants and victims and to tribal communities and court systems. This group seeks to identify and resolve sentencing disparities in federal sentencing guidelines as applied to defendants from tribal communities versus similarly situated defendants in state courts. They will also review topics such as whether tribal court convictions or tribal protection order violations are accurately measured during federal sentencings.
The group consists of five Federal District Court Judges from Indian Country, the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, the Associate Solicitor for the Department of the Interior (Division of Indian Affairs), the Director of the Office of Tribal Justice, a Federal Defender, a tribal chairman, two private attorneys, two Professors, a BIA Victim Specialist, a tribal attorney, a director of tribal public safety and two tribal judges, including Justice Boyum.
Justice Boyum notes that his background as a former defense attorney, a former federal and state prosecutor and a current tribal justice will be helpful in providing a “boots on the ground” point of view to the committee. Boyum states that he is, “honored to be included in such a prestigious group and glad to be able to help in correcting some of the sentencing disparities that exist in Indian Country.”
The group will meet via conference calls and during in-person meetings, generally in Washington, DC.
– Cherokee Court