Washington Law Review


Peter Fabish


In Duro v. Reina, the Supreme Court held that tribal courts do not have jurisdiction over Indians committing crimes within their territorial jurisdiction, but not belonging to their tribe. This holding is incompatible with judicial precedent as well as contemporary executive and congressional policy. The decision also creates serious practical problems for tribal, federal and state authorities by leaving a jurisdictional void over nonmember Indian criminals. A holding that tribal courts have jurisdiction over all tribal Indians who commit crimes on reservations would have been in harmony with judicial, congressional and executive precedent, and would not have created equal protection problems.

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