Liberty and Justice for All: A Report Prepared by the South Dakota Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1977   [open pdf - 6MB]

"The South Dakota Advisory Committee, pursuant to its responsibility to advise the Commission on civil rights problems in the State, submits this report on criminal justice for Native Americans. Through its investigation, the Advisory Committee concludes that despite progress made during the last few years in improving the quality of justice, Indian people continue to face problems in the State's criminal justice system, which places them at a severe disadvantage. The study found evidence of widespread abuse of police power throughout the State. Improprieties cited included selective law enforcement, search and arrest without cause, harassment and brutal treatment, arrest of intoxicated persons on disorderly conduct charges, and simple discourtesies. The court-appointed defense attorney system in South Dakota was found to place indigent defendants at a serious disadvantage. Far too often, inexperience, difficulties in communication, and inherent conflicts of interest on the part of defense attorneys were found to be detrimental to Native American defendants. The Advisory Committee examined practices by State, county and municipal law enforcement agencies and the courts in off-reservation areas of Pennington and Charles Mix Counties. Federal courts and agencies were not included in the study. In the course of the investigation, members of the Advisory Committee and staff from the Rocky Mountain Regional Office interviewed over 130 persons including State officials, law enforcement officers, defense and prosecuting attorneys, judges, court administrators, community representatives, and Native American complainants. Information, also, was received from more than 50 persons who testified at a fact-finding meeting conducted by the Advisory Committee last December."

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Thurgood Marshall Law Library: http://www.law.umaryland.edu/marshall/
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