Jurisdiction and Law Enforcement
Updated December 2011
Criminal jurisdiction and law enforcement issues create an immense opportunity for state-tribal cooperation. Criminal jurisdiction on tribal lands can be a confusing area of law because it can involve three different jurisdictions (tribal, federal and state) and must take into account additional factors such as the identity of the perpetrator, the identity of the victim, the specific type of crime committed and the locality of the crime.
The current jurisdictional framework has produced situations in which no single government has the authority to exercise full jurisdiction, absent some type of cooperative agreement. The confusion and possible jurisdictional gaps have contributed to the disproportionately high crime rates and under-prosecution of crimes, which negatively affect Native and non-Native citizens alike.
Cooperation between the states and tribes can address some of the uncertainty surrounding cross-jurisdictional issues.
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"Criminal Justice in Indian Country: Reducing Crime Through State-Tribal Cooperation" by Sarah Hammond, JD; Andrea Wilkins, JD/MA; Anne Teigen, JD; and Nithin Akuthota, JD National Conference of State Legislatures, Eileen Luna-Firebaugh JD/MPA, American Indian Studies Program, University of Arizona, September 2007.
" Criminal Justice Issues In Indian Country" by Eileen Luna-Firebaugh, JD, MPA University of Arizona, Sovereignty Symposium Meeting May 2007.
" Criminal Justice in Indian Country: State-Tribal Intergovernmental Strategies to Reduce Crime and Promote CommunityWellness" by Sarah Hammond, NCSL, Sovereignty Symposium Meeting May 2007.
"Criminal Jurisdiction and Law Enforcement," States and Tribes: Building New Traditions, February 2006, by Andrea Wilkins. (for copies contact Irene Kawanabe (303) 364-7700).