Cayuga Nation establishes criminal court system 8/7/2018

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Cayuga Nation establishes criminal court system

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Following the establishment of its own police force, the Cayuga Nation has announced the creation of a new criminal court system to aid in the prosecution of Native American offenders on nation land.

On Monday, the nation said it has enacted a penal code and rules of criminal procedure that will govern the operation of its police force and court system. Former Onondaga County Court Judge Joseph Fahey will serve as the nation’s trial judge while former Wayne County Court Judge Dennis Kehoe will serve as the appellate judge.

“Judges Fahey and Kehoe have substantial experience in criminal matters and bring those many years of experience as well as excellent reputations for integrity to our nation’s court system,” said Clint Halftown, the nation’s federal representative. “As with the establishment of our police force, the nation is taking responsibility to maintain law and order among our citizens.”

The announcement came one week after the nation swore in nine new officers on its police force. Earlier this summer, the nation also confirmed that Halftown and his council have signed a contract with a Pennsylvania prison to house its Native American inmates.

At the time, Cayuga Nation Police Department Superintendent Mark Lincoln said the nation was also in the process of hiring a prosecutor, defense attorney and probation officer to fill the tribal court. However, he said, many of the details about jurisdiction were “very cloudy” as a lot depends on the Bureau of Indian Affairs approving the tribe’s application to put nation-owned land into federal trust.

Meanwhile, Halftown said the nation will be appointing additional officials to its court system in the near future.