Case Style: United States of America v. Clara Beth Joe
Case Number: 1:14-cr-02773-MV
Judge: Martha Vazquez
Court: United States District Court for the District of New Mexico (Santa Fe County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Paul H. Spiers
Edward O Bustamante
Description: Santa Fe, NM - Navajo Woman from Gallup Sentenced for Federal Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction
Clara Beth Joe, 27, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Gallup, N.M., was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for her involuntary manslaughter conviction.
Joe was arrested on Aug. 27, 2014, on an indictment filed Aug. 12, 2014, charging her with involuntary manslaughter. The indictment alleged that Joe committed the crime on Jan. 30, 2014, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M.
On Aug. 20, 2015, Joe pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that on Jan. 31, 2014, law enforcement officers found her, heavily intoxicated and suffering from hypothermia, near a creek in Crystal, N.M., on the Navajo Indian Reservation. After inquiries were made about the whereabouts of Joe’s 13-month-old son, the officers found the child, who had drowned, closed to the area where Joe had been found. Joe admitted that her intoxication an important contributing factor in her son’s death.
The Gallup office of the FBI and the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety investigated the case.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.