Domestic Violence

Perryville v. Tague, 3AN-00-12245CI  
This case recognized the authority of Alaska Native tribes to banish members for violent and assaultive behavior.  It also authorizes state courts to enforce those orders and issue writs of assistance to law enforcement.
John Tague was a resident and enrolled member of the Native Village of Perryville (NVP).  He was a very violent man who continued to assault Perryville residents despite the occasional intervention of law enforcement.
In March 1999, the NVP Council passed a resolution banning Mr. Tague from Perryville.  In May of that year, Mr. Tague was sentenced in a criminal case and the assistant district attorney informed the state court and Mr. Tague of the NVP banishment resolution.  In November 2000, NVP sought an injunction from a state superior court to enforce its tribal resolution.  Notice was given by publication but Mr. Tague never responded and default was entered.  A permanent injunction was signed by the court March 10, 2001.
In January 2003, Mr. Tague boarded a plant to return to Perryville.  Also on board was an Alaska State trooper in route for other business.  When the plane landed, the Trooper was informed of the tribal resolution and the injunction and he was asked to enforce the banishment.  The Trooper contacted his superiors and was told he needed a further court order.  A day or so later, a superior court issued a writ of assistance directing a peace officer to enforce the court's injunction.  The Trooper served the writ on Mr. Tague, who said he would leave if NVP paid for his airfare.  NVP paid and Mr. Tague left.
Shortly after this, both the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Department of Law (DOL) expressed some concern about the actions the court had taken in this case and the DOL informed the court that it would be advising DPS not to enforce these types of court orders in the future, due to some alleged "defects" in the procedure.
The Court issued an order to show cause for why the injunction should not be vacated and the state, NVP, and others were present to make their arguments.  Mr. Tague did not participate.  
The State's position was that an Alaska Native tribe without "Indian country" has no sovereign territory and therefore no authority to banish members from a village.  It also thought the injunction directing the Troopers to enforce the banishment was a violation of the separation of powers.  Further, it argued that VAWA did not apply to this case and that Mr. Tague did not receive due process.
NVP argued that, pursuant to John v. Baker, as a federally recognized Indian tribe it has the authority and jurisdiction to regulate the internal relations of its members and the superior court is required to grant comity to tribal court orders where there was proper jurisdiction and due process.  It also argued that the Troopers are required to enforce lawful orders of the NVP court and writs issued by a superior court in the aid of tribal court orders.
The court agreed, for the most part, with NVP.  First, the court acknowledged the State's role as an amicus, but explained that only parties to a case may seek remedies for a matter to be at issue.  The State was not a party to the case.  Here, Mr. Tague did not contest the injunction and he never sought any kind of post-judgment relief.  As such, it was appropriate to vacate the show cause order and leave the injunction in place.

Next, the court echoed the message of John v. Baker, that Alaska Native tribes have the right to regulate the internal affairs of their members.  It found that the banishment order was appropriately limited to just the Village of Perryville and it allowed Mr. Tague to petition the NVP Tribal Court for reentry.

Finally, the court held that Mr. Tague received adequate notice of the injunction and that due process was not offended.  He was given notice by publication and actual notice of the banishment during his 1999 criminal proceeding. 

 
AlaskaTribes.org