Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tribal Sovereignty

US v. Anderson, No. 03-10516 (12-14-04). This involves an Indian jurisdiction issue. The defendant was a tribal chair of a small California Indian tribe. He was charged and convicted of theft and conspiracy to commit theft (kick-backs) from the tribe related to the operation of a casino on the Reservation. On appeal, he argued that California had exclusive criminal jurisdiction under 18 USC 1162 (Public Law 280), which gave states the power to enforce its criminal code in Indian country and divested federal jurisdiction over enclaves and Major Crimes. This did not bar federal jurisdiction over offenses of general jurisdiction, which includes 371 and also tribal theft, since neither has a situs requirement. For those that deal with Indian cases, this is an interesting opinion. - Summary by Jon Sands


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