Charenton man sentenced for assault at tribal reservation

LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a Charenton man was sentenced to 12 months in prison for assaulting a Chitimacha Tribal woman.

Dugan Joseph Burleigh, 34, of Charenton, La., was sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Michael Hill after pleading guilty to one count of assault in Indian Country. He was also sentenced to serve one year of supervised release. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Burleigh, who is a not a member of the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, assaulted a female victim who was a member of the tribe on January 11, 2015. He struck the victim from behind knocking her to the ground and continued to punch and kick her breaking her nose during the incident.

Jurisdiction in Indian Country is based upon the unique sovereign relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes. Congress has extended the territorial jurisdiction of the United States to major crimes committed against Native Americans that take place in Indian Country, which includes all property that the government holds in trust or use by officially recognized Native American tribes. The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes all major crimes and misdemeanor cases arising in Indian Country that are within the jurisdiction of this office.

The FBI and the Chitimacha Tribal Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dominic Rossetti and Joseph G. Jarzabek are prosecuting the case.

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