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SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA A federal jury in Aberdeen, South Dakota, last week found Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council Member Kerby St. John guilty of domestic assault by a habitual offender, announced US Attorney for the District of South Dakota Brendan V. Johnson.
The jury's guilty verdict is believed to be one of the first in the nation involving a new federal statute that punishes acts of domestic violence where an accused person has two prior convictions of domestic violence in federal, state or tribal court. The statute applies to violations within the United States' territorial jurisdiction and includes Indian country.
St. John was indicted by a federal grand jury in December 2011. The conviction arose from an incident in July 2011 when St. John committed an act of domestic assault in the community of Kenel on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.
St. John was previously convicted twice of domestic assault against an intimate partner in Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court.
“Our approach to addressing domestic violence in tribal communities is firm and uncompromising - we will use every tool at our disposal to stop it,”
said US Attorney Johnson.
“ Federal law punishes repeat domestic violence offenders, and this historic verdict reflects the enduring commitment of my office to hold these people accountable.”
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Law Enforcement Division, Standing Rock Agency. Assistant US Attorney Mikal Hanson prosecuted the case.
St. John was released on bond pending his sentencing, which is scheduled for September 10.
posted June 12, 2012 8:20 am edt
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