Sho-Ban News Headlines
POCATELLO – Ian Jack Crooked Arm, a/k/a Ian Sittre, 26, of Fort Hall, pleaded guilty February 26 in U.S. District Court to one count of involuntary manslaughter.
According to the plea agreement, on February 20, 2013, a 10-month-old infant girl was left in Sittre’s care when the child’s mother went to work. Sittre was living with the mother and other family members at a residence on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Less than ten minutes after leaving, Sittre called the child’s mother and told her something was wrong with the baby. Upon arriving at the residence, Sittre told the mother that the baby was “breathing funny.” She called 911 and attempted CPR. Sittre left the residence before paramedics or police arrived. Paramedics transported the child by ambulance to Portneuf Medical Center, unconscious and non-responsive. She was then airlifted to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, in critical condition. Despite the efforts of medical personnel, the infant died on February 22, 2013.
According to the plea agreement, an autopsy conducted on February 23 concluded that the immediate cause of death was abusive head trauma inflicted by a caregiver. A review of the child’s medical history found nothing to indicate any pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to the child’s death.
According to the plea agreement, on April 4, 2013, during a recorded telephone call between Sittre and his mother, from jail, Sittre admitted that he shook the baby “too hard.”
The charge of involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to eight years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
Sittre is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
The Fort Hall Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case.
Tribal Court charges
Sittre pleaded guilty to a domestic abuse charge February 5 in Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Court. Prosecutor Byram Beckstead said domestic abuse is the most serious charge in Tribal Court. A $5,000 fine was imposed and $40 in court costs. He was also sentenced to 365 days in jail. Beckstead said all days he’s imposed in Tribal Court run consecutive with his federal sentence.
Hibbert offers Idaho Legal Aid Serivices, available in Fort Hall
FORT HALL – A few years ago, the Fort Hall Business Council passed a resolution authorizing the Tribal Court Administrator, the Tribal Prosecutor and advocates to work with Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc., (Legal Aid) to provide additional legal assistance to low income tribal members who are financially unable to retain an attorney or legal representative in Tribal Court and to enhance the services the Tribal Court can provide in a limited number and type of civil and criminal matters.
The FHBC resolution specifically recognizes the need for representing, as Guardian ad Litem (GAL), the child’s best interest in a child protection cases in Tribal Court and assisting in the creation of a Tribal Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). The CASA program would train volunteers to serve as GALs in Tribal Court. Legal Aid would also continue to provide legal advice to tribal members who request assistance with drafting their Indian wills and other types of civil matters.
Hyrum Hibbert, an attorney with the Legal Aid Office in Pocatello, will be primarily providing the legal assistance in Tribal Court. Fred Zundel, also with the Legal Aid Office in Pocatello, will also be offering his assistance. Zundel has over 25 years of legal experience with Idaho Legal Aid Services in representing clients in many areas of practice. Idaho Legal Aid is a non-profit statewide law firm that provides legal assistance to low-income persons, and so any tribal members interested in an Indian will or other legal assistance must be low-income pursuant to Legal Aid criteria to qualify for assistance.
For those interested in an Indian will, the attorney will assist members in drafting a will that disposes of their trust and non-trust property and assets. The will allows the member to choose the relatives and friends to whom their property should go and will prevent one’s trust property from further fractionation. It will also prevent inheritance issues under the American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA), will allow the member to make charitable requests to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and will allow the member to choose a trusted and responsible person to serve as personal representative, who will be in charge of administration and distribution of the estate. A will also allows the member to name a guardian to care for their minor children and a conservator to protect their property interests.
In addition, the attorney can help a member with their advance directives (Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, and Durable Power of Attorney). A Living Will is a directive to withhold or provide treatment in the event one’s health condition becomes such that death is imminent, or one is in a persistent vegetative state and the application of life support would only artificially prolong one’s life. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care allows one to give full power and authority to make health care decisions on one’s behalf in the event one becomes incapacitated or disabled. A Durable Power of Attorney allows one to appoint someone to act and make financial and similar kinds of decisions on one’s behalf in the event one becomes incapacitated or disabled.
Idaho Legal Aid also has a grant to provide counsel and advice and possible representation for Tribal members with consumer questions. Consumer law concerns might include filing claims of exemptions or drafting “judgment proof” letters to protect exempt wages, property, and benefits from creditors; putting a stop to debt collection harassment; advice regarding identity theft; advice regarding foreclosure prevention; and student loan debts.
Hibbert’s current schedule at Fort Hall is on Tuesday and Thursday of each week from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. in the Public Defenders Office in the Tribal Justice Center. For those interested in assistance with their Indian will or with other legal questions, please contact Hibbert’s secretary at 233-0079 for an appointment. Walk-ins who wish to speak to Hibbert are welcome, but they may have to wait if an appointment with another tribal member has already been scheduled. Hibbert can be reached at his office at 236-1014 in the Public Defender’s Office.