Hopi criminal code changed to increase sentences

September 05, 2012

The Hopi tribe will be one of the first Native American nations to increase criminal sentences under a 2010 law. 

The Tribal Law and Order Act is aimed at curbing crime in native communities, particularly decreasing violence against women. To comply with the law, the Hopi nation has updated its criminal code for the first time since 1972.

Previously, every crime committed on the Northern Arizona reservation – up to and including murder – was considered a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of one year behind bars. Under changes that go into effect later this month, people convicted of a new class of felonies will face up to nine years.

Those sentences won’t necessarily preclude longer, federal sentences for serious crimes committed on reservation land.

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