DNA-People’s Legal Services

Helping New Mexicans With Issues Preventing Employment

New Mexican in NeedDNA represented a poverty stricken unemployed man who was seeking employment. The man sought several positions, but was routinely denied because a background check revealed a minor criminal charge in the 1970’s out of Arkansas. DNA learned that his charge had been ordered expunged by an Arkansas court; however, the Arkansas Crime Information Center sent the order to the F.B.I. with insufficient information. Therefore the ordered expunged criminal charge remained on his record. After reviewing the documents and regulations regarding expunged crimes, DNA successfully worked with the FBI in correcting the issue. Our client reports he is now employed and his background checks come back clean.

Orders of Protection for the Elderly

DNA attorneys in Crown Point and Window Rock represented a 75-year-old Navajo woman, living only on $7,500 per year in Social Security, to obtain an Elder Abuse Protection Order against her abuser. The younger woman befriended her at Bingo, and gained her trust, and then started “borrowing” very valuable traditional Navajo jewelry, rugs, and shawls which had been passed down through generations. She then pawned them for cash. DNA attorneys got Navajo Social Services involved to investigate, and at a disputed hearing, obtained an order requiring the younger woman to stay away, to return all items of property and cash she had taken, and if not within 30 days, she’d be taken into police custody, and criminal charges filed against her. Unfortunately, our client passed away before the 30 days was up, so we referred the case to her heirs to include in probate proceedings.

Debt Assistance

DNA helped a disabled retired gentleman when he was sued by a telephone company, after one of his relatives racked up nearly $1,000 in calls on his phone. This is perhaps not so unusual. In many Native American cultures, all property is considered to belong to the community: If one person in a family or neighborhood has a phone, everyone comes and uses it; there’s no reason to get one’s own phone if there’s another one available to use. In this case, it got out of hand. We negotiated a settlement with the phone company to reduce the debt by several hundred dollars, and to allow our client to make monthly payments until the balance was paid off. In the meantime, we successfully advocated for the judge to order $100 per month of the relative’s “per capita” payments from the tribe, to be paid to our client until paid in full.

Protecting Children

DNA represented a young Native American woman after her husband physically abused both her and their 3 children. There were many jurisdictional issues, because the client was Jicarilla-Apache and the husband was a member of another tribe. The Jicarilla-Apache Tribe’s prosecutor tried unsuccessfully to get jurisdiction over the abuser. Custody paperwork was filed in the other tribe’s court, in state court, and finally in Jicarilla-Apache court, where a permanent Protection Order, and an Order for Custody and Child Support were issued. Our client and her kids, after almost giving up because of the jurisdictional issues, are now protected by the law.

How You Can Help

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Equal Access To Justice

Mailing address:
PO Box 25941
Albuquerque, NM 87125