Grand Christensen has posted “The Extradition Clause and Indian Country,” forthcoming in the North Dakota Law Review, on SSRN.
This article looks at the enforceability of the Extradition Clause in the federal courts of the United States. In 1861 the Supreme Court held in Dennison that the federal courts could not be used to enforce a request made by one state governor to another state governor for the extradition of a suspected criminal under Article IV Section 1. In 1987 the Supreme Court reversed the Dennison decision and for the first time since the Civil War held that the federal judicial power includes the power to enforce the Extradition Clause. This article takes the position that federal judicial power is limited to cases where the state governor has both territorial and personal jurisdiction over the accused. When an individual is on an Indian reservation, even Article IV does not authorize the governor of a state to enter the reservation and return the accused subject to an extradition request. Article IV’s Extradition Clause provides a constitutional duty for the executive of one state to remit to the power of a sister state someone located within its borders and subject to its jurisdiction. Critical to the exercise of this power is the dual understanding that the individual sought must be both within the state territory and subject to the state’s jurisdiction. Indian country lies outside the general jurisdictional power of the states. States may not enter Indian country and remove persons found there absent cooperation with or permission from the Tribe. Doing so infringes upon the Tribe’s right to make its own laws and be governed by them.
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