Student Note on the Exclusionary Rule and the Indian Civil Rights Act

Seth E. Montgomery has published “ICRA’s Exclusionary Rule” in the Boston University Law Review.

The abstract:

The Fourth Amendment does not limit the actions of the 574 federally recognized Indian tribes. In an affront to tribal sovereignty, Congress enacted the Indian Civil Rights Act (“ICRA”) in 1968. The ICRA provides limitations on tribal governments that parallel the Bill of Rights. For example, the ICRA provides that no Indian tribe shall “violate the right of the people to be secure . . . against unreasonable search and seizures.”
But the ICRA—like the Fourth Amendment—does not state what happens when police obtain evidence from an unreasonable search or seizure and prosecutors seek to introduce that evidence in a criminal trial. Federal courts have developed an exclusionary rule for evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment: subject to myriad exceptions, if police obtain evidence unconstitutionally, then that evidence may not be introduced in a criminal trial. This Note asks whether the ICRA’s search-and-seizure provision incorporates such an exclusionary rule.
This Note advances an interpretation of the ICRA based on the statute’s 1968 meaning: the ICRA’s text compels an exclusionary rule, conditioned on deterring tribal police misconduct, but not subject to the myriad exceptions that apply in the Fourth Amendment context. And, with important qualifications, this Note explains why a court applying this interpretation should turn to tribal law. A deterrence-based exclusionary rule requires courts to consider whether exclusion deters police misconduct, how to measure the benefits of deterrence against the harms of excluding probative evidence, and how much deterrence is necessary for exclusion. Comity, self-determination, and federalism all compel deference to tribal law in answering these questions. Thus, tribal law can and should guide the application of the ICRA’s search-and-seizure provision in a criminal prosecution.
This Note contributes to the legal and academic landscape in three ways. First, it adds to an ever-growing body of literature advocating for federal and state deference to tribal law. Second, this Note fills a gap in the literature by addressing a remedy that the ICRA does not expressly provide—namely, exclusion. Most academics and courts describe federal habeas review as the ICRA’s only available remedy outside of tribal courts. Finally, this Note provides a roadmap for litigants arguing for or against a suppression motion based on an ICRA violation. Only a limited number of reported cases address whether the ICRA incorporates an exclusionary rule, and even fewer provide a full analysis. This Note thus answers an open question in a way that harmonizes constitutional criminal procedure with deference to tribal legal precedent.

Minnesota Federal Court Declines to Suppress Red Lake Tribal Criminal Defendant’s Uncounseled Statements to FBI and Uncounseled Tribal Court Plea

Here are the materials in United States v. Begay (D. Minn.):

South Dakota Federal Court Dismisses ICRA Claims (again) against Oglala Tribal

Here are the materials in Stanko v. Oglala Sioux Tribal Public Safety Division (D.S.D.):

1 Complaint

7-2 Tribal Exclusion Order

8 Motion for PI

8-1 Tribal Bench Warrant

11 DCT Order

Prior suit here.

Wassaja, Aug. 1976

Eighth Circuit Rejects MHA Nation Citizens’ Voting Rights Suit

Here is the opinion in Cross v. Fox.

Briefs:

Lower court materials here.

Fort Berthold Agency

SCOTUS Reverses in United States v. Cooley

Here is the unanimous opinion from Justice Breyer.

An excerpt:

The question presented is whether an Indian tribe’s police officer has authority to detain temporarily and to search a non-Indian on a public right-of-way that runs through an Indian reservation. The search and detention, we assume, took place based on a potential violation of state or federal law prior to the suspect’s transport to the proper nontribal authorities for prosecution.
We have previously noted that a tribe retains inherent sovereign authority to address “conduct [that] threatens or has some direct effect on . . . the health or welfare of the tribe.” Montana v. United States, 450 U. S. 544, 566 (1981); see also Strate v. A–1 Contractors, 520 U. S. 438, 456, n. 11 (1997). We believe this statement of law governs here. And we hold the tribal officer possesses the authority at issue.

Another excerpt:

More broadly, cross-deputization agreements are difficult to reach, and they often require negotiation between other authorities and the tribes over such matters as training, reciprocal authority to arrest, the “geographical reach of the agreements, the jurisdiction of the parties, liability of officers performing under the agreements, and sovereign immunity.” Fletcher, Fort, & Singel, Indian Country Law Enforcement and Cooperative Public Safety Agreements, 89 Mich. Bar J. 42, 44 (2010).

Here are the briefs and other background materials.

Amicus Briefs Supporting Petitioner in United States v. Cooley

Here:

19-1414 Amici SiouxTribes

19-1414 Amicus Brief of NationalIndigenousWomensResourceCenter

19-1414 Indian Law Scholars Cooley Brief

19-1414 tsac Former U.S. Attorneys

19-1414 tsac Members of Congress

19-1414 tsac The Cayuga Nation

19-1414 Ute Amici Brief

Final NCAI-Tribal Governments Amici Brief-US v Cooley 1-15-21

Other Cooley materials are here.

United States v. Cooley Background Materials

Here are the merits briefs:

Petitioner’s Brief

Respondent Brief

Petitioner’s Reply

Here are the amicus briefs supporting petitioner:

19-1414 Amici SiouxTribes

19-1414 Amicus Brief of NationalIndigenousWomensResourceCenter

19-1414 Indian Law Scholars Cooley Brief

19-1414 tsac Former U.S. Attorneys

19-1414 tsac Members of Congress

19-1414 tsac The Cayuga Nation

19-1414 Ute Amici Brief

Final NCAI-Tribal Governments Amici Brief-US v Cooley 1-15-21

Here are the amicus briefs supporting respondent:

19-1414 Amici Curiae Brief Ninth Circuit Federal Defenders

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Amicus Brief

Here are the cert stage materials:

Cert Petition

NCAI Amicus Brief

NIWRC Amicus Brief

Respondent Brief in Opposition to Petition for a Writ of Certiorari

Cooley Cert Reply

Here are the Ninth Circuit materials:

Ninth Circuit opinion

US Brief

Cooley Brief

Reply

Here are the district court (D. Mont.) materials:

2 Redacted Indictment

34 Motion to Suppress

34-1 Exhibit

41 Response

41-1 Exhibit

41-2 Exhibit

46 Reply

48 DCT Order Granting Motion to Suppress