Minnesota Supreme Court Affirms State Jurisdiction over Tribal Traffic Offenses

…over a dissent from Justice Alan Page. The case is State v. Davis. An excerpt:

State court has subject-matter jurisdiction over appellant‟s traffic violations because Congress has not preempted Minnesota from enforcing its traffic laws against appellant in state court.

And from the dissent:

The MCT is the governing unit federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the individual bands such as the Leech Lake Band and the Mille Lacs Band are merely “component reservations” of the MCT. Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible To Receive Services From the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, 73 Fed. Reg. 18,553, 18,555 (Apr. 4, 2008). Yet the court concludes with little explanation that the MCT has no tribal interest in self-governance. Nor does the court cite any authority for the distinction it makes between Indian tribes and Indian bands. I would also note that there is no indication in this record that the MCT has no interest in self-governance or has chosen to relinquish its interest in self-governance. Absent a showing that the MCT has chosen to relinquish its interest in self-governance, it is presumptuous for us to impose such a choice on the MCT. Because we held in Stone that no exceptional circumstances exist requiring a preemption analysis for tribal members who are alleged to have been speeding on tribal territory and because Davis is an MCT member whose alleged speeding offense occurred within the MCT‟s territory, I conclude that the state has no jurisdiction over Davis.

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