United States Accepts Concurrent Jurisdiction Over Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Department of Justice Press Release here.

The decision will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.  Tribal, state and county prosecutors and law enforcement agencies will also continue to have criminal jurisdiction on the reservation.

“We believe this decision – made after a careful review of the tribe’s application and the facts on the ground – will strengthen public safety and the criminal justice system serving the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe,” said Deputy Attorney General Yates.  “This is another step forward in the Justice Department’s commitment to serve and protect American Indian and Alaska Native communities, to deal with them on a government-to-government basis and to fulfill the historic promise of the Tribal Law and Order Act.  Strong law enforcement partnerships with the Tribe, as well as state and local counterparts, will be essential to the success of this effort.”

Mille Lacs is the second tribe to be granted concurrent jurisdiction under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. White Earth received concurrent jurisdiction status in 2013.

Wisconsin Supreme Court’s New Rule on Discretionary Transfer to Tribal Courts

Interesting development. Wisconsin, being a PL280 state, has issues with concurrent jurisdiction. Now a state court has discretion to stay a state court proceeding if a tribal court has concurrent jurisdiction, and transfer the case to tribal court, if other factors are met.

There were three dissenters, focusing on Plains Commerce Bank. Not sure why, given that the state court has to find concurrent jurisdiction before transferring anyway. What’s the harm if the state court finds jurisdiction consistent with federal common law?