'We're at court's mercy'
By TERRY WOSTER
Marie Lange of Rapid City said Indian lawyers are needed to represent Indian defendants. Such people might not even need to be licensed by the state, if they understood the system and could be advocates for Indian clients. And stereotypes need to be smashed to give American Indians a fair hearing in the system, she said.
"When you go in front of a white jury, they see that Indian from television," Lange said.
Janet Thompson, a Rosebud Sioux Tribe member and former law officer and criminal investigator, said Indians sometimes are charged with felonies that would be misdemeanors for non-Indians. She also said few Indian people are judged by a jury of peers because few juries include Indian members. She suggested that courts be allowed to draw Indian jurors from across the state, rather than only from the county or court circuit.
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