March 5, 2007

Smoke Shop Trial Moved to Providence

Carroll Andrew Morse

According to the Projo's 7-to-7 blog, Superior Court Justice Joseph Rodgers has ordered the Narragansett Smoke Shop Trial moved from South County to Providence citing better use of "juduical resources". In Saturday's Projo, Katie Mulvaney described the complete argument made by the Narragansetts for changing venue...

While arguments may focus of practical issues, the defense’s petition recounted the tribe’s troubled history in Washington County, namely the massacre of 1,000 Narragansetts and Wampanoags at the Great Swamp during King Philip’s War of the Colonial era. It details legal struggles between the tribe, the state and Charlestown over the Narragansetts’ 1,800 acres.

“What is abundantly clear from this history is that there have been long, consistent and very public disputes between the Town of Charlestown and the Narragansett Indian Tribe over the past 30 years,” the tribal members’ lawyers wrote. “Virtually every legal dispute, including the smoke shop raid, has centered on the issue of Narragansett Indian sovereignty and the use of Narragansett reservation lands in Washington County.”

The totality of the Narragansetts' position is that the people of South County are good enough to live near their casino, but not good enough to sit on a jury.

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This was a wise move. It would have taken forever to select a jury in Washington County, given the history of tension between the NIT and their neighbors there.

Posted by: brassband at March 5, 2007 7:32 PM