Been asked this so here goes. Does the new statute require tribes to guarantee counsel to indigent defendants in special tribal domestic violence prosecutions of non-Indians? Yes, the answer is (as Yoda would say) (and assuming President Obama doesn’t veto).
Here is the new statute, of which section 904(d) reads:
In a criminal proceeding in which a participating tribe exercises special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction, the participating tribe shall provide to the defendant—
(1) all applicable rights under this Act;
(2) if a term of imprisonment of any length may be imposed, all rights described in section 202(c);
The section 202(c) to which VAWA references is the current version of the Indian Civil Rights Act requiring tribes that choose to assert expanded sentencing authority to provide counsel to indigent defendants (25 U.S.C. § 1302):
(c) Rights of defendantsIn a criminal proceeding in which an Indian tribe, in exercising powers of self-government, imposes a total term of imprisonment of more than 1 year on a defendant, the Indian tribe shall—(1) provide to the defendant the right to effective assistance of counsel at least equal to that guaranteed by the United States Constitution; and(2) at the expense of the tribal government, provide an indigent defendant the assistance of a defense attorney licensed to practice law by any jurisdiction in the United States that applies appropriate professional licensing standards and effectively ensures the competence and professional responsibility of its licensed attorneys;(3) require that the judge presiding over the criminal proceeding—(4) prior to charging the defendant, make publicly available the criminal laws (including regulations and interpretative documents), rules of evidence, and rules of criminal procedure (including rules governing the recusal of judges in appropriate circumstances) of the tribal government; and