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NCJ Number: 64166 Find in a Library
Title: EXTENT OF WASHINGTON CRIMINAL JURISDICTION OVER INDIANS
Journal: WASHINGTON LAW REVIEW  Volume:33  Dated:(AUTUMN 1958)  Pages:289-302
Author(s): A L CARR; S M JOHANSON
Corporate Author: University of Washington
Law School
United States of America
Date Published: 1958
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE AUTHORS EXPLAIN WHY THE STATE OF WASHINGTON SHOULD AMEND ITS CONSTITUTION TO EXTEND CRIMINAL JURISDICTION TO COVER ALL INDIANS OF THE STATE; PROBLEMS WITH EXISTING LAWS ARE EMPHASIZED.
Abstract: THE CASE OF IN RE ANDY, A 1956 DECISION OF THE WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT, DEMONSTRATED THAT THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 15,000 INDIANS LIVING ON RESERVATIONS WHO ARE NOT AMENABLE TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION UNDER STATE LAW IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS; IN MANY INSTANCES, THEY ARE NOT AMENABLE TO EITHER STATE OR FEDERAL PROSECUTION. THE FEDERAL COURTS HAVE JURISDICTION ONLY OVER CRIMES LISTED IN THE TEN MAJOR CRIMES ACT: MURDER, MANSLAUGHTER, ASSAULT WITH INTENT TO KILL, ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON, BURGLARY, ROBBERY, LARCENY, ARSON, RAPE, AND INCEST. THE ANDY DECISION PROBABLY TRIGGERED THE WASHINGTON LEGISLATURE TO ENACT IN 1957 A STATUTE THAT TRANSFERS JURISDICTION OVER ANY AND ALL INDIAN CRIMES TO STATE COURTS. IN PASSING THE LEGISLATON, HOWEVER, THE LEGISLATURE DID NOT CONSIDER THE IMPLICATIONS OF ARTICLE 26, SECTION 2, OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION, IN WHICH THE STATE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS JURISDICTION OVER INDIAN LANDS. FURTHER, THE LEGISLATURE DID NOT HEED THE MANDATE OF THE 1953 CONGRESSIONAL ACT WHICH STIPULATED THAT THE CONSTITUTION MUST BE AMENDED BEFORE JURISDICTION OVER INDIAN LANDS CAN BE ACQUIRED. THE PROBABLE OUTCOME WILL BE THAT, WHEN FIRST TESTED, THE WASHINGTON STATUTE WILL BE DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THE TEN MAJOR CRIMES ACT IS INSUFFICIENT BECAUSE IT LEAVES MANY OFFENSES, OFTEN THE MOST SERIOUS, TO INADEQUATE OR NONEXISTENT TRIBAL COURTS. IN ADDITION, IT LEAVES MANY MATTERS TO FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WHO ARE NOT IN THE BEST POSITION TO HANDLE THEM. FOR EXAMPLE, PETTY LARCENIES COULD BE BE HANDLED BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES WHO, AT THE PRESENT TIME, TOTALLY LACK JURISDICTION. THE PRESENT APPROACH IS FRAUGHT WITH LEGAL AND PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES WHICH MAY REQUIRE YEARS OF LITIGATION TO SETTLE. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE STATE OF WASHINGTON USE THE MEANS MADE AVAILABLE BY CONGRESS TO REMEDY THE SITUATION AND AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASSUMING JURISDICTION OVER ALL INDIANS OF THE STATE. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED IN THE ARTICLE. (LWM)
Index Term(s): American Indians; Indian justice; Jurisdiction; Reservation crimes; Reservation law enforcement; Washington
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