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The Champion

November 2013 , Page 08 

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Letter to the Editor: Native Americans and Racial Disparities in Sentencing

By Hon. Myron H. Bright

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As a long-time federal judge, I have seen many cases, mostly on appeal, of disparity of federal sentencing toward minorities, sometimes much harsher than on white offenders. The articles you published in July 2013 discussing the problems and possible solutions are timely and significant.

There is another area of race disparity in sentences not mentioned in the articles. That is the disparate and often much harsher prison sentences imposed on Native Americans for crimes on the reservation calling for federal prosecution as compared to similar crimes committed off the reservation that are prosecuted and sentences imposed under state law in various state jurisdictions. I refer to the following Law Review articles:

  1. Gregory D. Smith, Disparate Impact of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Indians in Indian Country: Why Congress Should Run the Erie Railroad into the Major Crimes Act, 27 Hamline L. Rev. 483 (Summer 2004).
  2. Timothy Droske, Correcting Native American Sentencing Dispa
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