United States Petitions for Cert in Case Involving Tribal Police Authority to Detain Non-Indians

Here is the cert petition in United States v. Cooley:

Cert Petition

Question presented:

Whether the lower courts erred in suppressing evidence on the theory that a police officer of an Indian tribe lacked authority to temporarily detain and search respondent, a non-Indian, on a public right-of-way within a reservation based on a potential violation of state or federal law.

Lower court materials here.


NCAI Amicus Brief

NIWRC Amicus Brief

Waiver of Response

Ninth Circuit Briefs in United States v. Cooley


US Brief

Cooley Brief


An excerpt:

tribal law enforcement officer conducted a welfare check on Cooley, who had pulled over on a public highway where it crosses the Crow Reservation. It appeared to the officer that he was dealing with a non-Indian person. Soon thereafter, the encounter raised suspicion that Cooley was impaired and trafficking drugs and guns. He was detained and transferred to state custody. The district court suppressed the evidence from the stop based on a new Fourth Amendment test it derived from a tribal roadblock case. The district court held that the detention of Cooley and search of his vehicle violated the Fourth Amendment because, at the time the tribal officer realized Cooley was a non-Indian, it was not obvious that a state or federal crime had occurred. This new obviousness standard, the court held, is “notably higher” than probable cause.

Materials in Effort to Partition Indian Allotment

Here are the materials so far in Haeker v. United States Government (D. Mont.):

21 US Motion to Dismiss

22 Response

23 US Reply

24 MJ R&R

An excerpt:

Plaintiff Kurt Haeker (“Haeker”) seeks to partition his undivided fee interest in land within Indian Allotment 3316 on the Crow Indian Reservation. See Second Amend. Cmplt (ECF 19). The United States holds the legal title to the remaining undivided legal interest in trust for the benefit of several individual Indian allottees.
Pending is the United States’ motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. ECF 20. Having considered the parties’ arguments and submissions, the Court makes the following findings and recommends that the motion be granted.

American Public Media “Marketplace” Shows on Crow and Lummi Coal News

Thanks to D.L.:

The American Public Media show “Marketplace” is doing a series on coal, and two of their stories have focused on Indian tribes.  The first, about coal mining on the Crow Reservation, is more about the tribal economy; but the second, about a proposed coal shipping terminal in Washington state, has some legal issues (whether treaty fishing rights might be used to defeat the proposed coal terminal).

Both stories can be found at http://www.marketplace.org/topics/sustainability/coal-play

Civil Rights Claim by Crow Indians against FBI Dismissed

Mostly. One claim against an FBI officer remains.

The case is Cole v. FBI (D. Mont.): DCT Order Dismissing Cole Plaintiffs

The complaint is here: Cole Complaint.

Excerpts from news coverage here, via Pechanga:

Cebull agreed that the Coles and Springfield lacked standing to assert rights as individuals because they did not allege they had been the subject of discriminatory law enforcement. The link between injuries alleged by the plaintiffs and the alleged misconduct of the government employees was too weak to meet requirements for bringing a case, he said.

The court, however, held that the plaintiffs had standing to assert an equal-protection claim against Oravec and did not dismiss that claim.

Cebull agreed with Ostby that factual allegations “create an inference’’ that Oravec was “motivated by racial animus when conducting his investigation into the deaths of Steven Bearcrane and Robert Springfield.”

The plaintiffs alleged that Oravec had been heard to say that female American Indian victims of sexual assault “were asking for assault or words to that effect.” And, they claimed, Oravec tried to hinder crime investigations and that when the Coles visited the FBI offices to ask about the investigation into their son’s death, he attempted to intimidate Cletus Cole by taking him out of camera range and showing him his gun.

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