Missoula County has tried for more than a year to extradite Rodney Gervais Jr. From the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to serve a oneyear jail term for partner/family member assault. But the Blackfeet Tribe has refused to turn him over. Gervais returned to Browning after he was accused of violating probation, and state officials can't arrest him unless the tribe gives its consent. Blackfeet officials point out the reservation has sovereign status, and the tribe is under no obligation to extradite suspects. Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said the tribe wants a separate extradition agreement with each county, a situation he said is frustrating. "I don't know what law enforcement has done to serve these warrants, but I think we had a situation once where we knew this guy was in custody on tribal charges in Browning, and we asked them to extradite him to us," Van Valkenburg told the Great Falls Tribune, which reported on the extradition problem Monday. "We were told the tribe would not turn him over unless Missoula County had an extradition agreement with the Blackfeet Tribe," the prosecutor said. Van Valkenburg said he assumed Montana Code Annotated section 46-30-101 would apply because it deals with extradition proceedings between Montana, other states and Indian tribes within the state. But the Blackfeet Tribe does not recognize that statute and wants a separate extradition agreement with each county, Van Valkenburg said. "We felt that was an onerous requirement on their part," he added. Gervais is the son of Tribal Business Council member Rodney Gervais, who says he and his family have been the subject of malicious prosecution for speaking out against racism. "He had agreed to the extradition, but I asked him to fight it so we could force the other side into signing an agreement," the elder Gervais said. Gervais Jr. Was accused of pushing his mother, Gloria Carlson, against her car, grabbing her by the neck and trying to shove her to the ground on Jan. 31, 2002, in Missoula. He was convicted of a misdemeanor charge and sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended, on Oct. 28, 2005. The next day Gervais appeared in court in Missoula and received another one-year suspended sentence for hitting his girlfriend, Rhonda Green, in the head during a fight July 14, 2002. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest on Nov. 26, 2007, for revocation of his probation because of suspected probation violations. One of the conditions of his suspended sentence was that he receive anger management treatment at Missoula's Indian Center, but the court was told that didn't happen. Maylinn Smith, director of the University of Montana's Indian Law Clinic, said tribes, as sovereign entities, have no legal reason to enforce state laws. "The government-to-government relationships are between the federal government and the tribes, not between tribes and states," she said. "So without a federal statute imposing mutual recognition of state and tribal justice systems, a specific agreement between the tribe and the state is required." Such an agreement would be difficult to negotiate because it could require the state to turn its citizens over to the tribal courts for trial in certain situations, she said. "Often, the tribes feel this is just a one-way process," Smith said. "The state requires them to return defendants to it while not reciprocating. "There's also a bigger problem with tribal concerns that the white justice system is biased so they don't choose to participate in that system," she added. The Blackfeet Tribe is willing to negotiate tribe-to-state agreements, but it demands equal treatment, the elder Gervais said.