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Would arrests prior to an interlocal agreement have to be done in accordance with the laws in affect prior to signing it?

Aberdeen, WA |

A man is arrested by a tribal officer on XXX XX, 2012 transported and booked in the County Jail. However, he discovers that the interlocal agreement between that tribe and the County did not take place or affect until some 6 months after the arrest. The arresting officer was a tribal policeman and was not accompanied or joined by the county sheriffs' department per the laws of the state of Washington. The paperwork claims he is commissioned for both. BUT the fact remains that the agreement between the tribe and the County had not taken place. Departmental and News releases clearly state the positive impact of the Interlocal Agreement is that they will no longer have to call-in a county sheriff in order to perform arrests of non- tribal persons arrested within the boundaries of their land

Attorney Answers 1


If a tribe has not requested or consented to the assumption of state jurisdiction, the title status
or the property where the offense was committed determines state authority to prosecute. If the
property is tribal or allotted land within the reservation and is either held in trust by the United States or subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States, the Washington courts do not have jurisdiction.

“Tribal lands” for the purpose of applying state jurisdiction has been generally defined in
Someday v. Rhay , 67 Wn.2d 180, 184, 406 P.2d 931 (1965) as “lands within the boundaries of an Indian reservation held in trust by the federal government for the Indian tribe as a
community. . .” “[A]llotted land” (which is commonly known as “individual trust land”) is:

grazing and agricultural lands within a reservation, which are apportioned and distributed
in severalty to tribal members, title to the allotted lands being held in trust and subject to restrictions against alienation for varying periods of time.

Somday, 67 Wn.2d at 184. Resolution of the jurisdictional issues usually requires a determination
of whether the alleged offense occurred on fee or nonfee land. State v. Flett, 40 Wn. App. 277, 283,
699 P.2d 774 (1985).

Put conversely, state jurisdiction generally applies to all crimes committed by Indians upon fee
simple property. An exception may apply to certain parcels located within the Tulalip Reservation
as Congress created a special class of ownership —restricted fee — that exists no where else in Washington. See 25 U.S.C. § 403a-2.

So what was your actual question? If there was incriminating evidence seized from your person during an unlawful arrest, that evidence could be suppressed by the Court and the prosecution would be unable to use that evidence against you. If the trial process is already underway in a State Court, you could file a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. If there is no case now pending against you, and your only beef was a technically unlawful arrest, there is very likely no "there" there.

You probably should consult with a criminal defense attorney well-versed in the rules of jurisdiction and comity for Indian tribal lands. If you are facing the potential of active prosecution, you should stop asking public questions and retain such a defense attorney -- anything said on a public forum such as this one is entirely admissible against you at trial.

Good luck!

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