MANDAN, North Dakota — Yesterday, the North Dakota Supreme Courtissued an ordercalling for public comments on apetitionfiled by the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC), an initiative of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). The deadline for comments is set for 4 PM on Friday, December 30.
The WPLC also called for the resignation of Acting Morton County State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson after he filed a motion to hold indigent Water Protectors liable to repay the state for their court appointed lawyers, while belittling and calling the Water Protectors “props” and their movement a “protracted manufactured spectacular.”
On December 14, citing the existing emergency in the South-Central Judicial District, WPLC requested a temporary amendment to state rules that would ease requirements for temporary admission to practice law in the state. Under current rules, out-of-state lawyers must either apply on a case-by-case basis or make a full application from a state whose law license North Dakota recognizes.
“Denying Water Protectors their constitutional rights to counsel is a far more serious barrier to justice than concrete slabs across a highway,” said William Tilton, WPLC lawyer. “We filed to call on the Supreme Court to recognize this judicial emergency and open the courts to qualified criminal lawyers who are standing by to help.”
In August, Gov. Jack Dalrymple declared a state of emergency following the arrests of just 28 Water Protectors. Since then, there have been more than 500 additional arrests. To date, 75 North Dakota lawyers have been assigned 165 cases, but an additional 264 Water Protectors remain without lawyers. At least 113 were denied public defenders.
The petition also states that despite the overwhelming surge in arrests, no emergency funding has been set aside for the public defense system, which struggled to meet demand prior to the protests. Further, there are too few criminal defense lawyers to even represent those who do not qualify for public defenders, due to high caseloads and conflicts of interest.
The out-of-state lawyers are held back by problems under the case-by-case rules. Each must connect with an in-state lawyer, who must also attend all hearings. They have had significant problems finding willing in-state lawyers. The full application process for out-of-state lawyers is also a large burden, requiring weeks of information gathering and expenses of nearly $1,000 each.
In an ironic twist, local media have reported that the shortage of public defenders has also been worsened by the large increase in lucrative oil company legal work, driving many lawyers away from public criminal defense.
In his motion to the trial court judge, Erickson seeks an order on the state agency responsible for indigent defense to account for every hour and dime expended by court-appointed attorneys to assure large judgments against Water Protector defendants. To justify this unprecedented move, Erickson charged: “Each protester attack on our police officers, each riot, and each incidence of private property destruction has been done to create fake news videos used to bring attention, celebrities, both passionate and gullible people, and finally money – all to be focused on multiple issues of national discontent… Most protest criminal defendants are simply props for videos of staged events.”
“State’s Attorney Erickson set out to use the most slanderous words and harmful rhetoric he could muster to defame the Water Protector defendants, their lawyers and supporters, and undermine the legitimacy of the Standing Rock encampment and concern over the DAPL, said Jeff Haas, WPLC lawyer. “Certainly, another objective of Erikson’s motion was to bias prospective Morton County jurors who will be hearing the first Standing Rock jury trial set for Monday, December 19.
For the reasons above, WPLC calls on State’s Attorney Erickson to step down as prosecutor. WPLC calls on the courts to decide whether his prosecutorial conduct has tainted the jury pool and prevented a fair trial to the point that the Water Protectors’ cases must be dismissed.
WPLC urges people to comment, in writing, on the rule amendments that would make it easier for out-of-state lawyers to represent Water Protectors, by 4 PM, Friday, December 30, 2016. Comments may be e-mailed to Penny Miller, Clerk of the Supreme Court, at email@example.com, or addressed to 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Bismarck, ND 58505-0530.
The Water Protector Legal Collective is the National Lawyers Guild legal support team for those engaged in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. It maintains a 24/7 presence on-site at the Oceti Sakowin camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
MNN. DEC. 16, 2016. Instead of reconciliation, how about rectification? Take down the tribal and band council “wardens” that help the military run the POW Camps called “reservations” on great turtle island. These private corporations do not represent us. They usurp our land, properties, assets, labor and revenue for the corporation’s profit. They have never represented us. They carry out genocide.
CORPO COUNCILS LADDER OF EXCESS.
The corpo chairmen illegally sign away our land and resources and try to oppress and keep our voices silent.
Lakota Inc. received over $6 million in donations. Chairman Archie plans to hire lawyers to protect him. Every cent should go to the Lakota people for heating oil, health, blankets, food, everything they need, telecommunication and much more.
Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Inc. is a private corporation, at 601 South 2nd St., Arlington, Va. 22202. The address of TSA of Homeland Security is 601 South 2nd St., Arlington, Va. 22202, 866-289-9673.
MCK Inc. a private corporation that has a corporate charter, a list of shareholders and a business plan, No shares were ever issued to each kanion’ke:haka, Mohawk. Our possessions are its assets to borrow, buy, trade and for their personal use.
It’s a corporate scam. We are the link between the bankers and our land and resources they want and need to steal for their very existence.
CORPO INDIANS: “HERE, LET ME HELP YOU. I’M DISGUISED”.
Corporate Federal Indian Law on great turtle island make us believe we own our assets on our territories. In fact the shareholders of all the reservation will be the Crown/Vatican. The public is waking up rapidly to the fraud.
The incorporation charter will show each shareholder’s involvement. The people have to remove these criminals and reignite the traditional clan based and matriarchal systems throughout turtle island.
Dakota Access Pipeline says that Trump will order the completion of all pipelines. [listen to the audio]
Outside laws will attempt to override our original instructions.
SOME DON’T LISTEN TO THOSE WHO STAND WITH THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE AND CREATION.
Anyone who votes in the system has voted for the system to continue.
We know what to do for our children. Archie and the gang show who they are working with. The ones who keep the money and provisions from the true warriors.
The late Floyd Red Crow Westerman sings about not listening: “And I told them not to dig for gold. For if they did the Eagle would die. They didn’t listen, they didn’t listen, they didn’t listen to me”.
IN THE MEANTIME THE REST OF US ARE GETTING WET, COLD AND INJURED AND HUNGRY.
NORTH DAKOTA: Office of the Governor Jack Darymple: 701-328-2200; Morton County Sheriff’s Department: 701-328-8118 & 701-667-3330; Allen Koppy Morton County Attorney 701.667.3350; N.D. National Guard: 701-333-2000; Army Corps of Engineers (202) 761-5903
U.S. Embassy Worldwide & Ottawa, 490 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1G8: (General): 613-688-5335, (Emergency): 613-238-5335, (Media): 613-688-5315 Fax: 613-688-3082, US Embassy of the United States, London UK, Switchboard:  (0)20 7499-9000, White House Washington 202-456-1111 or (202) 456-1414