Isleta Pueblo Politics

By Christopher L. Abeita

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Tribe Losing Public Defender

D. Zane Swank, the Tribal Public Defender, is leaving the Pueblo. Mr. Swank is responsible for defending tribal members facing criminal prosecution before the Isleta Tribal Court. His last day will be September 23, 2014.lady_20justiceLADY_JUSTICE

Mr. Swank will return to private practice in Albuquerque. He plans to continue practicing law in Criminal Defense and Family Law.

With his departure, our Tribe is losing a valuable asset. Mr. Swank represented his clients vigorously. He fought to ensure that the Prosecution satisfied its obligation of proving a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

As a result, all of us benefited from Mr. Swank’s hard work, not just his clients. As a Public Defender, Mr. Swank ensured that the Isleta Police and the Prosecution did their jobs in accordance with the Isleta Tribal Constitution, the Indian Civil Rights Act and all other relevant laws.

In defending his clients, his duty was to challenge and give scrutiny to the actions of governmental officials including the police. His duty was to ensure that the Judges for the Isleta Tribal Court also honored the law. He met his obligation. He performed a very vital function for our Tribe.

Government tries to protect us from criminals; Zane fought to protect us from governmental abuse.

Zane, thank you for your work. I wish you the best.

What are your thoughts?

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