A recent case involving a Navajo nation judge has led to some serious questions of special treatment. Judge Roy Tso was convicted in a bench trial after being accused of interfering with a burglary investigation to help his relatives and then attempting to bribe the prosecutor. His punishment? Giving up his position and paying $25.
The bizarre case began with an alleged June 2013 burglary committed by his sister, a niece and a third person who were reportedly caught “red-handed” with loot from a storage unit. Tso was at the scene but left when police arrived. He then reportedly intervened to demand that his relatives be released from jail and called the prosecutor to achieve the release. Prosecutor Ruby Benally testified was then offered a $750 bribe to drop the case. Making of this even weirder, the burglary charges were never tried and the niece committed suicide. Then the woman who alleged conveyed the bribe offer disappeared.
Tso was charged only with abusing his office rather than bribery or other possible charges. Prosecutors asked that Tso be sentenced to the maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.