One Charge Dropped:
Government to Recommend a Maximum of 7 Years
Mandan, ND: Attorneys for Red Fawn Fallis today notified the court of a change of plea pursuant to an agreement with prosecutors. If the judge accepts the plea, the government will drop the most serious charge and recommend a sentence of no more than seven years for the remaining two charges.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Ms. Fallis would plead to Counts 1 and 3 of her indictment (Civil Disorder and Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition by a Convicted Felon) and the government would drop Count 2 (Discharge of a Firearm in Relation to a Felony Crime of Violence). This latter charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and the possibility of up to life in prison.
The next step is a hearing on Monday January 22, 2018 in Bismarck at which time the plea will be tendered to the court and a later date will be scheduled for when the judge will sentence Red Fawn on the remaining two charges.
Under the agreement, prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of no more than seven years in prison, although the judge does have the authority to go as high as 10 years on these charges. There is no minimum sentence. If the judge decides not to accept the agreement the case will continue to trial on all three charges.
Red Fawn has been fighting an uphill battle at every stage of this case. She is facing up to life in prison and the prospect of a trial in North Dakota where there has been extensive pre-trial publicity adverse to Water Protectors and against the no-DAPL movement. Rulings against Red Fawn at every step of proceedings have left the defense with insufficient information about the paid FBI informant who became her boyfriend and who plans to testify against her at trial. The government has refused to provide full disclosure of even potentially exculpatory surveillance and other records in the possession of TigerSwan and other private security firms who coordinated with law enforcement during the encampments at Standing Rock and had targeted Red Fawn as a leader.
Given these circumstances, Red Fawn has made the very difficult decision to enter into a plea agreement that still risks significant prison time, but removes the mandatory minimum and the possibility of life imprisonment. The agreement relates only to Red Fawn and will not harm other Water Protectors.
Red Fawn Fallis is a community leader and human rights advocate. She is well-known and respected for her work with youth and as a medic as well as for her deep commitment to her people and to protecting the water. She was incarcerated for one year awaiting trial and is currently confined to a halfway house. We look forward to the day she can return home to her family and her community and continue her great work.
Water Protector Legal Collective stands by Red Fawn and we call on Water Protectors and community members to continue to support her through this difficult time. Please follow her Support Committee website for information on how to write to her and be in solidarity with her through her sentencing hearing and as she serves her prison time.
This plea would make Red Fawn the first Water Protector to be sentenced to a substantial prison term for activity at Standing Rock. There are five other Water Protectors with pending federal charges preparing for trials in the coming months and over 300 with pending state charges.
Ms. Fallis is represented by attorneys Molly Armour, Jessie Cook and Bruce Ellison.
*This statement may be excerpted or reproduced in full on the condition of proper attribution to: Water Protector Legal Collective.
Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) provides on-the-ground legal representation and coordination for Water Protectors engaged in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, ND.