You can support Water Protectors in a meaningful way from your phone or laptop — right now — by writing the ND Supreme Court expressing your comments in favor of the court allowing legal services from out of state lawyers to help Water Protectors. You have to write in by no later than 4:00 p.m., Friday, December 30, 2016.
Written comments may be e-mailed to Penny Miller, Clerk of the Supreme Court, at email@example.com or addressed to 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Bismarck, ND 58505-0530.
The courts and number of lawyers willing to help Water Protectors are strained.
The lack of lawyers, who are both willing and able, to help Water Protectors means that Water Protectors risk going without adequate legal counsel and, therefore, may not receive a fair trial.
The likelihood of a fair trial occurring in Morton County is already very narrow. Water Protectors need legal counsel in order to have a fighting chance.
In response to a petition to the court, the North Dakota Supreme Court is considering a motion to allow out of state lawyers to offer legal counsel, temporarily, to Water Protectors who are facing charges.
The Court has also officially decided to allow public comments from “any person wishing to comment on the proposed amendments.”
Those who are opposed to the #NoDAPL movement, the Water Protectors, and Native Americans in general will also be able, and probably very eager, to write the court to express their opposition to anything that might help the Water Protectors receive adequate legal counsel and a fair trial.
We need your positive voice and comments to the court right now.
You can help, right now, by sending your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be respectful if you want to be helpful and if you want your comment to be taken seriously. This is not the time or place to express disrespect, ridicule, or critical critiques of law enforcement or the courts.
Instead, we are trying to help ensure that our Water Protectors receive legal counsel and a fair trial.
That is the mission. Please help now.
See the notice from the North Dakota Supreme Court here:
Below is an example (originally written by Dallas Goldtooth) of a template that you could use to send your comment to the court if writing is not necessarily your thing or if you are concerned about expressing your message in a good way. You may copy and paste this message and email it to the court.
Penny Miller, Clerk
North Dakota Supreme Court
The following is a comment in support of the Petition to Permit Temporary Provision of Legal Services by Qualified Attorneys From Outside North Dakota.
There is an emergency affecting the North Dakota legal system resulting from the high number of arrests related to anti-Dakota Access pipeline matters. There is an insufficient number of qualified and interested criminal defense lawyers in North Dakota currently licensed to represent the over 500 people arrested. Many criminal defense lawyers have already maxed out their public defender allotments. Many others have declined to take on these cases, often due work load capacity, time constraints or conflicts of interest related to the pipeline industry. Furthermore, any requests for change of venue have been denied.
These defendants, self-identified as Water Protectors, deserve fair trials and I am concerned that due to the reasons stated above, the North Dakota court system is currently strained in its capacity to ensure that defendants receive these fair trials.
As such, I request that the North Dakota Supreme Court accept and approve the Petition to Permit Temporary Provision of Legal Services by Qualified Attorneys From Outside North Dakota.
Please help all parties ensure that defendants are able to obtain the legal counsel they need to be given their fair day in court.
(Your name here)