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Messe Jartell is a member of the Otter River Indian Tribe and lives…

Messe Jartell is a member of the Otter River Indian Tribe and lives on tribal land. Jartell was charged with statutory rape against a minor (also a tribal member). At the time of the alleged statutory rape (Feb 14, 2019), Jartell was 24yrs old and the minor was 14yrs old. Jartell told police that he and the minor were in a relationship for a month. On the night of the alleged conduct, Jartell invited the minor over to his house to celebrate the one-month anniversary. When questioned by police, the minor described her and Jartell’s “anniversary celebration” as including alcoholic beverages, drugs, and a later party off-reservation. The anniversary was the first time she consumed alcohol or drugs and does not remember much from that night. The off-reservation party is where the alleged conduct is at issue occurred.


The tribal code, revised in 2009, states that a rape includes situations where.

The defendant or someone else, with the defendant’s knowledge, has substantially impaired the other person’s power to appraise or control that person’s conduct by administrating or employing, without the other person’s knowledge, intoxicants, drugs or another stimuli substance with the intent to prevent resistance.


The code also provides the tribal court with jurisdiction over all Indian-committed offenses against tribal law and within the tribe’s boundaries. The code also requires the court to provide effective counsel’s assistance, licensed attorneys for indigent criminal defendants, and judges who are law-trained and licensed.


Jartell is expected to challenge the tribal court’s jurisdiction to try the case and the tribe’s ability to use enhanced sentencing under the Tribal Law and Order Act.


Discuss the analysis of the tribe’s jurisdiction and the tribe’s ability to use enhanced sentencing. 

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