The Crow Tribal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Crow Tribal Chairman Alvin "A.J." Not Afraid after his administration failed to comply with a judge's order to pay outstanding funds owed to the tribe's judicial branch.
Associate Judge Kari Covers Up filed the bench warrant after holding the chairman in contempt of court "for failing to perform the duties of his office as required by Crow law," the warrant states.
It orders "any law enforcement officer of the Crow Indian Reservation" to arrest the chairman and bring him before the tribal court.
The tribal court's jurisdiction may not apply to Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officers. BIA law enforcement officials serve arrest warrants only in criminal cases, said spokeswoman Nedra Darling in an email Thursday.
It's unclear whether the tribe employs any other police.
Last week, Covers Up ordered the tribe's executive branch to release more than $86,000 from the tribe’s general fund that is owed to the judicial branch for unpaid wages, contractor bills and other debts.
The Aug. 28 order came after a petition filed by Chief Judge Leroy Not Afraid in mid-July, stating that the branch’s 15 employees at the time had not been paid for up to five pay periods, resulting in a backlog of more than $34,000 in unpaid wages. In a status update filed earlier Wednesday the chief judge stated those payments had still not been made.
Under Crow law, the executive branch is responsible for disbursing funds allocated by annual budget bills passed by the tribe’s legislature. The budget for the current fiscal year provided for more than $750,000 for the courts.
The chief judge's petition alleged two of those employees had since taken leave due to non-payment, two probation officers had been laid off, and the remaining court staff had reduced their hours to half-time.