WARRANT DISMISSED

Order for Crow chairman’s arrest quashed following payments to Judicial Branch
Thursday, September 13, 2018

File photo by Andrew Turck
          
            Crow Chairman Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid Jr. speaks to constituents in Crow Agency during a tribal general council meeting on July 28. A warrant for his arrest was quashed Friday after the Executive Branch managed to pay back Judicial Branch personnel, vendors and service providers.

Crow Tribal Court issued an order Friday quashing their bench warrant for the arrest of Chairman Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid, Jr. According to a statement from the Executive Branch, “The Order also dismissed, with prejudice, the pending civil action against Chairman Not Afraid.”

The court issued the arrest warrant for Not Afraid two days prior in response to several months of financial burden placed upon Judicial Branch personnel. They either have had to work without pay, or have had their rate of pay cut going back through February.

Tribal Court Administrator Ginger Goes Ahead gave examples of pay cuts that ranged from 50 cents per hour up through her own pay cut of $14.50 per hour. The tribal judges’ pay was reduced “an exorbitant amount,” she said.

The Crow Tribal Constitution specifies in Article IV that the Executive Branch is responsible for the administration of “funds within the control of the Tribe.”

According to a petition for writ of mandamus by the court dated July 17, nonpayment from the Executive Branch also resulted in financial issues for service providers and vendors. These problems, it continues, have compounded since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2017.

The writ of mandamus states about $59,000 was owed to service providers and about $27,000 to vendors and contractors, for an estimated total of $86,000. As for court personnel, the Executive Branch owed about $37,000 in court staff salaries and $26,000 in judicial salaries for an estimated total of $63,000.

Following an Aug. 15 show of cause hearing and an actual writ of mandamus on Aug. 28, the wages still had not been paid, leading to the bench warrant. No arrest took place, and a court supporting brief states that, “Defendant has complied or substantially complied with the requirements set forth in the Court’s Writ of Mandamus.”

According to Court Administrator Goes Ahead and Executive spokesperson Jared Stewart, the wages have now been paid in full. “Both branches of the government are trying to work cohesively to further the tribe,” Stewart said.

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