Episode 27 – Reserved for Justice





On this episode of The Justice Rap Up, host Jonathan Rapping is celebrating Native American Heritage Month! According to The National Congress of American Indians, Native American Heritage Month is dedicated to celebrating rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.

Joining him this week is Defender, Melanie Yazza of The River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. Listen in as they speak about the injustices that Native Americans encounter with our criminal legal system. You don’t want to miss this impactful episode!





MELANIE YAZZA as is currently a Defender with The River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. She was formerly a Senior Attorney and Acting Director for Defense Services in the Gila River Indian Community, also in Arizona.  She has extensive experience representing indigent clients in tribal court and is also a tribal member of the Navajo Nation. Melanie!



  • Why did you become a public defender and what has your journey been like so far in your career?
  • What is “Tribal Court” and how is it different from State and Federal court?
  • Are there different laws that pertain only to reservations?
  • What are the major challenges that Native Americans face within the criminal legal system?

Gideon’s Promise: The Podcast can be found on Apple PodcastsSpotifySoundCloud,  YouTube and on the Gideon’s Promise website.



Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice (2020) by Jonathan Rapping.