Our office sends our condolences to the family and friends of Officer Scott Bashioum of the Cannonsburg police who was killed early this morning while responding to a domestic violence call in Cannonsburg, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Bashioum and his partner were shot at by Michael Cwiklinski, who later took his own life and that of a woman who had an active Protection from Abuse Order against him. Neighbors were evacuated by a SWAT team, and the Allegheny County Bomb Squad was called in to search for hidden explosives as gas cans were found in the house and the suspect's car.
As we have noted in our previous posts about the Indian Child Welfare Act, the practice of family law is often complicated in Pennsylvania by an attempt to balance the Pennsylvania court's authority with that of the various Native American tribes that call this state home. This week, the United States Supreme Court decided a new case that will likely impact the practice of Pennsylvania family law. In United States v. Bryant, the Court affirmed the sovereignty of the Native American tribal courts and addressed domestic violence in the Native American community for the first time. The Court unanimously upheld a federal conviction against a native domestic violence offender.