Special prosecutors deny Naize's peacemaking request

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Navajo Nation special prosecutors have rejected Speaker Johnny Naize's request to enter into peacemaking on charges of alleged bribery and conspiracy citing constraints of the program that require consent of the Navajo Nation or a finding of guilt.

Naize submitted his request to the Window Rock District Court on April 3. In his request Naize said as a member of the Navajo Nation he wishes to "resolve and make whole the mental anguish that has been placed upon numerous people named..."

"I would be exercising my right as a Navajo to resolve 'Nayee' through our traditional ways and beliefs...," Naize said.

In his motion, Naize also said "the special prosecutor's list of witnesses fails to recognized (sic) that certain and/or all statements made by witnesses were obtained by the special prosecutor and his firm though coerce (sic), intimidations and harrassments (sic)..."

The special prosecutor's response to the court on Naize's request for the cases to be transferred to the Nation's Peacemaking Program said that the "Navajo Nation is aware of the dual-culture Court system at play here" where the principles of relationship, courtesy and respect is employed to allow parties to control the outcome of litigation between themselves, in keeping with traditional Diné methods.

"But as the Navajo Supreme Court has acknowledged, in Navajo society today 'a court session cannot be turned into a peacemaking session without warning and consent' of both of the parties involved," the motion said.

The motion from the special prosecutors said "under the formal rules of the court, and the criminal laws in the Navajo Nation, the peacemaking court is used only after a finding of guilt has been made in the case.

"In fact, the only time the peacemaker court is addressed in any of the criminal laws, is as part of the sentencing process," the motion stated. "As Defendant Yazzie insisted on a trial, and using the rules of the trial process, he must now follow those rules."

The motion also discussed Naize's alleged complaints of misconduct by the special prosecutor's office.

"Concerning the allegations of misconduct raised by Defendant Yazzie in his motion, the Navajo Nation requests additional time to investigate and respond to them at a future date," the motion said. "While the allegations are serious and broad, the Navajo nation would note that the allegations are totally lacking in factual support."

On May 7, Window Rock District Court Judge Carol Perry issued an order to refer a case brought by Naize against 12 council members and a legislative worker to the peacemaking program after a vote in the Navajo Nation Council placed Naize on administrative leave.

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