Fight For Justice

On the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Reservation

Oct 18, 1996
Excerpts taken from the Houghton Mining Gazette.

Memo Details Plans to Attack Compound
... The memo was at the heart of a discussion Thursday at a motions hearing in Marquette. Attorney Mark Stevens contends the memo, issued by KBIC attorney Joseph O&Leary, was confidential and therefore inappropriate to be used in federal court....

The Memo:
When O'Leary wrote the April 16, 1996 memo he was the tribe's prosecuting attorney.

"It is not my job to always bring you good news, or to tell you what you want to hear. My job is to provide the best legal and ethical advice that I can provide," O'Leary memo reads.

In the memo, O'Leary said on April 14 he attended a planning session with the then-KBIC Police Chief Frank Serafini and Don Chosa, and three Florida SWAT officers who were Serafini&s former colleagues "brought up to help the tribal police with a specific operation."

Dakota and Stevens attended the meeting, during which O'Leary said !Stevens quickly took an active role in the discussions.!

O'Leary wrote that Stevens wanted to amend a plan to retake the former tribal center at Assinins to include entering the Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church and arrest anyone there with out standing warrants and search for documents the tribe said FFJ had stolen.

"Stevens insisted that an extensive search for documents be conducted and he offered to do it himself," the memo said.

O'Leary said he was to meet Stevens later but stopped home first "three SWAT specialists" arrived shortly thereafter and told him "they were not comfortable with the plan."

When O'Leary met Stevens later and told him the men wanted to go back to the original plan, "his reaction was very strong and surprising. He insisted that the amended plan be followed and argued to me that the expert's plan of taking over the tribal center was a crazy one."

"That was the beginning of a long night, Fred arrived and a heated discussion ensued with Mr. Stevens again playing a dominant role and insisting that the searches be carried out. Frank Serafini was contracted by phone and demands were made that he carry out the three searches."

Then Serafini resigned as police chief, telling O'Leary he shouldn't "be told how to conduct a police operation by an attorney with no law-enforcement experience."

"Stevens then turned the discussion towards how to carry out the three raids without the assistance of trained SWAT officers."

O'Leary went home thinking "this is not a good idea."

"It seemed strange to me that Mr. Stevens was suddenly involved in and attempting to direct a police operation and criminal investigation. It also seemed strange that he would want to be involved in the drafting of affidavits for search warrants." O'Leary fretted Stevens's actions would create a conflict of interest between Dakota and the tribal council. "It is important that no appearance of collusive conduct or conflict of interest be created."

O'Leary said he was accused of deliberately undermining the best interests of the tribe and of calling off the operation that could have resulted in someone getting "killed if the police actions is improperly done."

O'Leary resigned as prosecuting attorney in the memo and concluded with the following.

"Finally, the recent press regarding Fred Dakota's alleged wrong doing with a tribal vendor five years ago should also be specifically investigated to determine whether charges can and should be brought against Fred, " adding the move would "remove any appearance of impropriety from the criminal proceedings surrounding the takeover."

O'Leary indicated he intended to bring the issues to the attention of the State Bar of Michigan....

October 11, 1996
The records are Back! The US Federal Marshalls delivered the records that were taken last month to Marquette are now back in FFJ hands. To see the Judges decision of this click here.

To read a brief summary of FFJ and it's begining read Tina Lam's Detorit Free Press article

Copyright 2001 by Rose Edwards. All Rights Reserved.