Yazzie appeals Nez decision


Navajo Times | File

Vincent Yazzie

Former candidate for president Vincent Harris Yazzie has filed an appeal with the Navajo Nation Supreme Court against the Office of Hearings and Appeals’ decision to dismiss his grievance against Vice President and candidate Jonathan Nez.

On Sept. 27, OHA chief hearing officer Richie Nez declared Jonathan Nez eligible to run for Navajo Nation president after hearing arguments between the vice president’s attorney, David Jordan, and Yazzie’s attorney, Bernadine Martin, on whether Nez omitting a 2002 DUI conviction from the Flagstaff Municipal Court on his application for candidacy is grounds for disqualification.

“Qualifications for office is specifically set out for each office, in this the office of the president of the Navajo Nation,” said Richie Nez. “It says, Do you have any felonies within the last five years and did you commit any misdemeanors of certain types? … “If the answer is no then you meet the qualifications for office and my view there is no conflict when you read those two statutes together,” he said.

“I’m going to grant the motion … the grievance is insufficient and Mr. Jonathan Nez is legally qualified to run for office.”

Yazzie argues in his appeal the law was changed in 2014 and requires the disclosure of any misdemeanors or felonies that may impact the office the candidate seeks. He further invokes Navajo Fundamental Law, stating that a nataanii must enter the hogan — symbolic of the office he assumes — with a clean conscience and transparency.

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About The Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com.