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Navajo Nation to consider changing curfew sentence

GALLUP – A proposal to amend sentencing for people caught breaking the coronavirus curfew on the Navajo Nation is awaiting consideration by the Navajo Nation Council.

Police have been charging curfew violators with public nuisance, which gives judges the choice of sentencing violators to 30 days in jail or fines up to $1,000, the Gallup Independent reported Thursday.

One judge in Chinle, Arizona, issued a warning to a curfew offender, the newspaper reported. Under the new guidelines, first-time offenders would be ordered to pay fines of $500. Second-time culprits would face $1,000 fines. Third-time offenders would pay $1,000 fines and face sentences of up to 30 days.

The council’s Law and Order Committee on Tuesday unanimously backed the proposal, but the council’s Health, Education and Human Services Committee unanimously opposed it Sept. 2.