Washington Supreme Court Holds that Tribal Police have “Inherent Authority” to Engage in Fresh Pursuit Off the Reservation

Here’s the opinion in State v. Eriksen. An excerpt:

A Lummi Nation tribal police officer witnessed a motorist on
the reservation driving at night with high beams and drifting across the center divider.
Did the officer have authority to continue pursuing this vehicle beyond the
reservation’s borders and then detain the non-Indian driver until authorities with
jurisdiction to arrest for DUI1 arrived? This is an issue of first impression. We hold
tribal officers have inherent sovereign authority and statutory authority to continue
“fresh pursuit” of motorists who break traffic laws on the reservation and then drive
off the reservation. Therefore we affirm the trial court.

A Lummi Nation tribal police officer witnessed a motorist on the reservation driving at night with high beams and drifting across the center divider. Did the officer have authority to continue pursuing this vehicle beyond the reservation’s borders and then detain the non-Indian driver until authorities with jurisdiction to arrest for DUI1 arrived? This is an issue of first impression. We hold tribal officers have inherent sovereign authority and statutory authority to continue “fresh pursuit” of motorists who break traffic laws on the reservation and then drive off the reservation. Therefore we affirm the trial court.

All the briefs are here.

This entry was posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Criminal, Research and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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