Four new federal prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montana are set to be hired in coming months, including two attorneys dedicated to working on tribal land caseloads.
“These new Assistant United States Attorney positions are a significant investment from the Justice Department and will strengthen our ability to address public safety across the state, especially in Indian Country,” U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said in a press release.
In addition to the two tribal land attorneys, a third lawyer based in Billings will be tasked with prosecuting general violent crime cases and the fourth will handle “eLitigation” work (namely processing electronic filings in cases). All of the positions are full time.
Of the two prosecutors working on tribal cases, one will be based in Great Falls or Helena while the other will sit in the Billings branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the press release stated.
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Their positions will serve as liaisons between the office and reservations and bolster violent crime prosecution on tribal lands.
While the U.S. Attorney’s Office currently has prosecutors with caseloads partially dedicated to tribal crimes, Laslovich explained in a phone call that the new additions will be solely focused on Indian Country investigations.
He said the new positions are rare, and described them as a “big deal.”
Offenses including assault, sexual violence, drug cases, burglaries and murders fall under the umbrella of cases the two prosecutors will work on.
“Prosecutors assigned to Indian Country, which is a legal term in federal law, prosecute major crimes arising in six Montana Indian reservations within federal jurisdiction, including the Blackfeet, Rocky Boy’s, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, Crow and Northern Cheyenne,” the press release stated.
The U.S. Department of Justice allocated the money for the new hires in President Joe Biden’s budget last year, according to the release. Funding was distributed all over the country for positions in U.S. Attorney's Offices.
Hiring for the four new posts is expected to take several months. Right now, 31 prosecutors work in Montana's U.S. Attorney's Office. That number will increase to 35 once the four positions are brought on.