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Tribal Law and Order Act: Enhanced Sentencing Authority -- Tribal Code Development Considerations Quick-Reference Overview & Checklist

NCJ Number
Michelle Rivard Parks
Date Published
July 2015
20 pages
This technical assistance resource provides a quick-reference overview and quick-reference checklist pertinent to the review, amendment, and development of tribal codes in the course of implementing the enhanced sentencing provisions of the Federal Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA).
The TLOA, which was signed into law on July 29, 2010, amended the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1978 (ICRA) by providing for expansion of the sentencing authority of tribal courts. Under pre-existing law, tribes were restricted to sentences of up to 1 year imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000, or both; however, under the TLOA, tribes now have an option to impose sentences not to exceed 3 years imprisonment, fines up to $15,000, or both, for qualifying crimes, so long as the tribe has met the requirements specified in the TLOA. Sentences may include a combination of incarceration and community supervision. Under no circumstance can the term of the sentence exceed 9 years. TLOA defines the crimes to which enhanced sentences may be applied by tribal courts. Most of the crimes fitting TLOA provisions would be considered felonies if they occurred within a State or Federal jurisdiction. This could include nonviolent as well as violent offenses. This publication provides a quick-reference overview of statutory and due process requirements under the TLOA. It assists tribal teams, committees, or individuals by highlighting the primary statutory requirements and can be used as a guide to assess tribal readiness for meeting TLOA requirements for enhanced sentencing. A quick-reference checklist is also provided for tribal code review, amendment, and development so as to ensure compliance with the enhanced sentencing provisions of the TLOA.

Date Published: July 1, 2015