U.S. Sentencing Commission Tribal Advisory Group Appoints UNM Law Professor Creel as Voting Member

February 26, 2015 - Tamara Williams

UNM Law Professor Barbara Creel February 26, 2015 – UNM Law Professor Barbara Creel has been appointed by the United States Sentencing Commission as a voting member to its Tribal Issues Advisory Group (TIAG).

The goal and purpose of the group is to study the operation and impact of the federal sentencing guidelines on American Indian defendants and victims and advise the Commission. This study will include whether there are disparities in the application of the federal sentencing guidelines to American Indian defendants, and, if so, how to address them. It will also review the use of tribal court convictions in the computation of criminal history under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Further the group will provide recommendations to the Commission on consultation with tribes and tribal communities on sentencing issues and policy.

Expertise in Criminal Law and Federal Indian Law

Professor Creel’s expertise in both criminal law and federal Indian law were considered in the appointment. Her recognized scholarship in the area of tribal court convictions and access to justice in Indian country add to the group’s diverse skills, and place her among the few experts who advocate for the defense in this area.

“The UNM Law School is very proud that our colleague Barbara Creel has been appointed to the Tribal Issues Advisory Group,” said David J. Herring, dean of the law school. “With her experience and expertise in Indian Country criminal defense, she will be able to contribute significantly in this important position.”

For seven years, Creel was Assistant Federal Public Defender in the District of Oregon, where she developed a federal habeas corpus and post-conviction expertise. Creel assisted in the defense of Native American clients on cases from reservations prosecuted under the Major Crimes Act. Creel also worked at the trial level and argued before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Creel joined the UNM Law School in 2007, where she teaches Criminal Law in Indian Country and courses in criminal procedure and evidence, among others. As the Director of the Southwest Indian Law Clinic, she represents Native Americans before tribal and federal courts in trials and in post-conviction relief cases.