The Roosevelt City Council has been meeting regularly in closed-door executive sessions to discuss an agreement to defer misdemeanor criminal prosecution of Ute tribal members to tribal court.
Mayor Dennis Jenkins said the city will release details of the agreement after it has been OK'd and signed by the Ute Tribe Business Committee.He said the agreement addresses only criminal misdemeanor jurisdiction and does not attempt to address issues of taxation of Ute tribal members in Roosevelt or cross-deputization of law enforcement officers.
"It's about misdemeanor criminal deferral and working together," he said.
The city's intentions in deferring misdemeanor criminal jurisdiction were questioned last week during a City Council meeting by Roosevelt business owner Beverly Jacobs.
Jacobs said she's concerned about the city's decision to return tribal members accused of misdemeanor crimes to the tribal court for prosecution.
"I feel my rights are being diminished," said Jacobs. "I feel somebody else's rights are being put above mine."
Jacobs said that previously when the tribe had criminal jurisdiction over tribal members in Roosevelt she had gone to tribal court numerous times as a victim but never saw one penny paid in restitution or justice served.
"I have been laughed at in tribal court, and I have been humiliated" she said. "I would just like to know I'm not getting back into a nightmare here. . . . My constitutional right is to have protection."
Council member Mike Guinn assured Jacobs the city would maintain arresting authority, something it didn't have before when the tribe had jurisdiction over tribal members accused of crimes in Roosevelt, and would claim responsibility for victims' rights.
Without elaborating on the plan, City Administrator Brad Hancock told Jacobs he believed she would find that through "mechanisms" built into the agreement between the city and tribe her rights as a victim "would be enhanced."
The Ute Tribe has boycotted Roosevelt for more than a year over the criminal jurisdiction issue.