☰ In this section

The Champion

May 2012 , Page 30 

Search the Champion Looking for something specific?

Preview of Member Only Content

For full access: login or Become a Member Join Now

Who Is an Indian? History Creates a Legal Labyrinth and Defense Opportunities

By Daniel Donovan and John Rhodes

Read more Cover Story columns.

I. Introduction

   Law enforcement on Indian reservations has drawn increasing attention in recent years. Codified in the Tribal Law and Order Act, Congress’ focus on criminal justice in Indian country promises more prosecutions.1 Federal jurisdiction over Indian country crimes is statutorily circumscribed, including requiring that either the defendant and/or the victim be an “Indian.” Indian status is thus necessary to federal jurisdiction in Indian country. This elemental importance vexes litigants, the courts, and Indian country jurisprudence.

    The Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit accurately observed: “The exercise of criminal jurisdiction over Indians and Indian country is a ‘complex patchwork of federal, state, and tribal law, which is better explained by history than by logic.’”2 The Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1153, establishes federal criminal jurisdiction over specified serious crimes committed in Indian country by Indian defendants.3 The crimes include

Want to read more?

The Champion archive is reserved for NACDL members.

NACDL members, please login to read the rest of this article.

Not a member? Join now.
Join Now
Or click here to see an overview of NACDL Member benefits.

See what NACDL members say about us.

To read the current issue of The Champion in its entirety, click here.

  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
  • Academic Requests: Full articles of The Champion Magazine are available for academic and research purposes in the WestLaw and LexisNexis databases.
Advertisement Advertise with Us

In This Section

Advertisement Advertise with Us