MICHIGAN CRIMINAL LAW AND INDIAN TRIBAL CRIMINAL LAW
It is often tricky for a police officer in the area of an Indian Reservation to determine whether or not there is jurisdiction for an arrest. Many Indian tribes have their own police force with jurisdiction over tribal lands. When an officer stops a person consideration must be made of the location of the alleged crime, the current location, and political identity of the alleged victim, and the nature of the alleged crime before deciding what action to take.
All questions related to Indian country jurisdiction over criminal cases must begin with determining whether or not the alleged crime occurred in Indian country. If not, ordinary rules regarding state and federal criminal jurisdiction apply.
OVERVIEW OF CRIMINAL JURISDICTION IN INDIAN COUNTRY
The primary Michigan Indian country law enforcement jurisdictions are federal and tribal. Tribes have the authority to prosecute their own citizens and other non-member Indians, but they cannot prosecute non-Indians.
The general rule is that state governments have no jurisdiction in Indian country unless Congress explicitly authorizes it. The prosecution of crimes committed by non-Indians against persons and property in Indian country is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government. State governments have jurisdiction over crimes committed between non-Indians. As an example, a tribal police officer has no authority to arrest a non-Indian violating state law on the reservation. State officers cannot respond to calls involving Indians on tribal land. However, in all cases, an officer attempting to exercise authority outside of his or her jurisdiction merely has the authority to stop and detain a suspect.
COOPERATIVE PUBLIC SAFETY AGREEMENTS
To help remedy the gaps of jurisdiction, many law enforcement agencies have entered into agreements with tribes sharing authority in and around Indian country. Deputization agreements give tribal, state, federal and city law enforcement power to enforce laws outside their own jurisdiction regardless of the identity of the perpetrator. This simplifies the exercise of criminal jurisdiction.
MICHIGAN CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
If you, or someone you know, is facing prosecution for a crime that occurred on or near tribal land, you need to have an expert attorney evaluate your situation to determine if the jurisdiction of the prosecution is proper. Also, you need to have expert legal representation to protect you in general terms from a prosecution. Being charged with a crime, you are facing the possibility of incarceration, lengthy and costly probation, community service and a long list of other requirements. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are the best legal help available. They will protect you and give you the best possible defense available. If you have any questions, please contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.
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LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.