Jones Attorney Makes Final Arguments in Banishment Case
Jones’ Attorney Makes Final Arguments in Banishment Case
Arthur “Arty” Jones appeared in Hoopa Valley Tribal Court on Friday, May 17, to hear his attorney, Clifford Marshall, make a final appeal of the decision to exclude Jones from the reservation.
Marshall and the panel of three appellate court judges led by Chief Judge Lisa Brodoff were connected by teleconferencing equipment to the courtroom occupied by Jones and the attorney representing the Tribal Council, Rebecca McMahon.
Marshall made several impassioned arguments against the use of the Exclusion Ordinance against Jones, including that it was selective prosecution.
“The Ordinance is selective on its face. The Chairman gets to decide when and against whom exclusion will be applied,” Marshall said. “This is not a law that applies to everyone who commits repeated offenses; only those selected by the Chairman. It’s unconstitutional and the court should say so.”
Marshall also argued that the Exclusion Ordinance says that a person is subject for “repeated commission of a crime.”
“Mr. Jones hasn’t been convicted of repeated commissions of the same crime,” Marshall said.
Marshall also said, “Mr. Jones has equal rights to all tribal lands and resources; as a tribal member he has federally recognized hunting, fishing and gathering rights. These rights are property rights and the United States has always been required to compensate tribes and individual Indians for the termination of those rights.”
Judge Michelle Demmert, one of the three judges on the panel hearing the appeal, asked, “How is this different from the loss of 2nd Amendment rights when someone is convicted of a crime?”
Marshall said, “This is about where he’ll live for the rest of his life. He is a convicted felon so he can’t own a gun, but he should be able to live in his own house.”
McMahon, representing the Tribal Council, said, “The Tribe’s motive throughout this proceeding has been protecting the Hoopa community from the perils of drug abuse on the reservation.”
“There was evidence presented showing that Mr. Jones is a convicted drug dealer and a multiple criminal offender,” McMahon said. “At least two of his convictions are felonies related to drug possession, use, and sale; and his most recent convictions in February of last year involved possession for sale of controlled substances within the Hoopa Valley Reservation.”
Judge Matthew Fletcher asked if the exclusion was meant to apply only to tribal trust lands, or to all land within the external boundaries of the Reservation.
McMahon said, “He is excluded from the exterior boundaries of the Reservation, which the Tribal Council has the authority to regulate and manage by virtue of its designation as a Reservation.”
After both attorneys finished arguing the case, Brodoff told them to have response briefs and any possible requests for sanctions turned in by Friday, May 24. The three-judge appellate panel will make a final ruling sometime after that.
Outside the Tribal Court, Jones showed a copy of a house deed to the TRT.
“I don’t live on tribal property. I live on deeded land, and I pay taxes to live there,” Jones said. “So until Humboldt County comes and tells me I can’t live in my own house, I’m going to stay there.”