Tenth Circuit Orders Exhaustion of Tribal Remedies over Trespass Claim Involving Nonmember Police Officers

Here is the opinion in Norton v. Ute Indian Tribe.

An excerpt:

We conclude that the district court erred in excusing the officers from exhaustion of tribal remedies with respect to the Tribe’s trespass claim, which alleges that the officers asserted superior authority over tribal lands and barred a tribal official from accessing the scene of the Murray shooting. Although we do not decide today whether the Tribal Court possesses jurisdiction over that claim, exhaustion is required unless tribal court jurisdiction is “automatically foreclosed.” Nat’l Farmers Union Ins. Cos. v. Crow Tribe of Indians, 471 U.S. 845, 855 (1985). The officers have not made this showing for the trespass claim because that claim at least arguably implicates the Tribe’s core sovereign rights to exclude and to self-govern. We further conclude that this claim is not barred by Hicks, which excused exhaustion based on a state’s overriding interest in investigating off-reservation offenses. Such an interest is not at play in this case. Murray was not suspected of committing any off-reservation violation, and the officers were not cross-deputized to enforce state law on the Reservation. However, we agree with the district court that the remaining Tribal Court claims are not subject to tribal jurisdiction and thus exhaustion was unnecessary.

Briefs:

Opening Brief

Utah Municipalities Answer Brief

Answer Brief

Reply Brief

Lower court materials in Norton v. Ute Indian Tribe (D. Utah):

23 Motion to Dismiss

32 Motion for Preliminary Injunction

33 Utah Municipalities Response to 23

34 State Response to 23

36 Norton Response to 23

37 Reply in Support of 23

38 Opposition to 32

39 Tribal Court Response to 32

40 Reply in Support of 32

57 DCT Order

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

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