New Web Page Created for Pardon and Forgiveness Application
By Joe Morey
On May 28, it was announced that the LCO Pardon and Forgiveness Screening Committee had been selected and was in the process of meeting with the Legal Department to review the code, and learn about their procedures and responsibilities as committee members.
As of today, a new page has been established on the Tribal Website with a printable and fillable application now ready for tribal members to apply to the committee.
The new committee was established by unanimous vote of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board (TGB) on Oct. 22, 2019, when they approved the Pardon and Forgiveness Code of LCO tribal law, an ordinance providing a way for tribal members convicted of crimes or other reasons that may inhibit the member to find employment, housing or other benefits of membership.
The code states, the TGB hereby recognizes that the purpose of this ordinance is to provide a fair, efficient and formal process by which: (a) a Tribal citizen (member) may receive a pardon for the conviction of a crime(s); or (b) a Tribal citizen (member) or non-Tribal member may receive forgiveness for acts that render him or her ineligible for Tribal employment; an occupational license, certification or permit issued by the Tribe; a foster care license issued by the Tribe; or other Tribal benefit.
LCO Secretary-Treasurer Tweed Shuman said he believes in giving a second chance.
“We have many people who are affected by these restrictions and this will help them,” Shuman stated.
The Code states it is now, “The policy of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to grant pardons or forgiveness to individuals upon demonstration of full rehabilitation, trustworthiness and/or commitment to lawful behavior. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as permitting the employment of individuals who are otherwise disqualified for employment from certain occupations under Tribal, State or Federal Law. Receipt of a pardon or forgiveness does not affect obligations imposed as part of a sentence or conviction in another jurisdiction.”
The Screening Committee will act as an advisory board to the TGB for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this ordinance and shall have those powers as stated in this section.
The Code goes on to state some powers and duties of the Screening Committee, which include, to promulgate internal standard operating procedures necessary to govern its proceedings, review and process applications for a pardon or forgiveness in an orderly and expeditious manner, review an applicant’s background investigation report received from the Human Resources Department, conduct and preside over hearings, provide formal, written recommendations to the Tribal Governing Board to approve or deny a pardon or forgiveness application, and take other actions reasonably related to the purpose of the Committee.
The Code establishes the Screening Committee to have seven tribal members and no one from the council can sit on board as a voting member. The Code also states a member of the Screening Committee may not have any crimes against them and they must be at least 21 years old.