Angela Riley & Sarah Glenn Thompson on Dual Sovereignty and Indian Country Crimes

Angela Riley & Sarah Glenn Thompson have posted “Mapping Dual Sovereignty and Double Jeopardy in Indian Country Crimes,” recently published in the Columbia Law Review, on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

The Double Jeopardy Clause guarantees no individual will be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense. But, pursuant to the dualsovereignty doctrine, multiple prosecutions for offenses stemming from the same conduct do not violate the Clause if the offenses charged arise under the laws of separate sovereigns, even if the laws are otherwise identical. The doctrine applies to tribal prosecutions, but its impact in Indian country is rarely studied. Such an inquiry is overdue, particularly as the scope of crimes potentially subject to dual tribal and federal prosecutions has broadened in recent years. This Article is the first to undertake a preliminary examination of the dual-sovereignty doctrine in the tribal–federal context and describe the complex interplay between the doctrine and the rest of the criminal law fabric in Indian country. Perhaps most significantly, it includes an original typology highlighting when a defendant may be subject to the doctrine, which sovereigns have the authority to prosecute, pursuant to what source of power each sovereign operates, and when and how the sequence of prosecutions matters, if at all. This leads to the Article’s central thesis: Indian tribes are separate sovereigns with inherent sovereignty, and, under current conditions, the dual-sovereignty doctrine plays a central role in ensuring safety in Indian country. The doctrine’s application in Indian country, however, creates unique complexities that may threaten tribal sovereignty and raise issues of unfairness for defendants. This Article offers numerous reforms—some highly ambitious and others more modest—to address these issues.

two police officers staring at each other in the style of miro