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.
18 thoughts on “Navajo Judge Allegedly Interferes With Burglary Investigation For Relatives and Tries To Bribe a Prosecutor . . . Then Receives $25 Fine”
I used to live in New Mexico and have considerable respect of a Indian ways. Drop it.
One way for thee, another for me.
I am not so sure things are any better anywhere else out west. I heard a US Supreme Court justice died in SW Texas alone in his bed and was found with a pillow on his head and nobody bothered to do an inquest.
Navajo culture puts great influence on family, taking care of family members, and on making restitution. Probably why the sentence for the judge seems lenient to us but made since to the Navajos handing it out. They saw what he did as being in accordance with cultural values. Also, the loss of his job is actually a huge punishment in terms o what it looses both him and his family members in both income and prestige.
SierraRose: Makes sense to me. People refuse to remember that the Navajo Tribe is a sovereign nation that is not beholdened to US cultural or legal standards within the tribe.
If you live out west with the reservations, this just sounds like another day in tribal governance. The tribes have created may of their own problems by tolerating corruption in their own government, and protecting their own members from prosecution and civil action in the state court systems. Just ask any car dealer who has ever tried to repossess a car on the reservation.
Indian politics. Rosebud Sioux Tribe council meeting is live now March 9, 2016.
Squeek, There is a great documentary on Netflix about General Tso’s Chicken. It delves into the creator of this ubiquitous dish, but it encompasses the Chinese history in the US. You also learn about the great military leader, General Tso.
Some of the responses above reflect a sort of condescension and bias. The Navajo Tribe probably doesn’t see this as any more “weird” than an Attorney General doing nothing about a President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense policy of “enhanced interrogation,” waging continuous wars with drones and assassinations, and flipping their noses at habeus corpus, or another AG saying he won’t prosecute because the banks are too big to fail. And we all know there are no corrupt state court judges.
Get a grip, pale face.
Yeah I thought that Indian Nations were like foreign nations and had to be given some respect and distance for stuff which goes on –on the Reservation.
Respect the treaty or be damned when you expect a foreign nation to respect some treaty which we want to be respected and observed. Don’t Tread On Me. And I am not from New Hampshire or Maine.
The whole concept of American Indian reservations and court systems is strange. I understand that it is based on treaties between the tribes and the U.S. govt, but at this point in history it is rather odd to consider Am Indians as citizens for some purposes, and as members of a separate nation-within-a-nation for others. In any event, the fired Navajo judge can open a casino.
Tso was at the scene but left when the police arrived? Say wuh? Was he involved in the burglary and trying to tote away the stolen property, as well–simply leaving before the police arrived? You know the old saying: the family that steals together, stays together. Maybe the burglary charges were never tried because these fine, upstanding individuals threatened to scalp the prosecutor if that occurred. No worries. The former judge can always get a job at one of the casinos.
Seems that the Navajo morals don’t quite live up to the ideal of being one with nature that the greens love to tout.
We need to change the name of the Washington Redskins so that native-Americans everywhere can stop doing stuff like this.
PS: Tso left the scene of the crime??? Sooo, “generally Tso’s chicken”???
This is a tribal court. The Navajo Nation is corrupt as hell and every couple of years a bunch of the politicians go to jail. It is really fun when the new council is elected and the old council refuses to leave office and the tribal cops back the old council. Fun times.
To call the USA a banana republic is a slur against all banana republics.
I’m sure glad we set the world standard for low corruption………………..NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a calculated cover to make our allies the Sultans of Swing (AKA Al Saud “Monarchy”….hahahahaha…) and the Democracy of Israel look better.
Buy long bananas…….
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