Cert Petition Arising from Police Killing of Ute Tribal Member

Here is the petition in Jones v. Norton:

cert petn

Questions presented:

  • Where it is undisputed that Plaintiffs/Petitioners Debra Jones and Arden Jones, and their deceased son Todd R. Murray, all had individual rights under the 1868 Ute Tribe treaty with the United States, and where, under the procedural posture of this case, it is undisputed that Plaintiffs’ and their Decedent son’s individual rights under the Treaty were violated, did Plaintiffs state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on the violation of their treaty rights?
  • 2.Where State police officers have pursued an Indian within Indian country without either probable cause or jurisdictional authority can they be relieved of the common law duty to preserve evidence simply because the officers’ tortious conduct giving rise to the claims against them arose within Indian country?
  • 3.Where there are disputed material facts, can a district court grant summary judgment based upon the court’s opinion that a reasonable jury would decide the case in favor of the summary judgment movant?

Lower court materials here.

Federal Court Dismisses Treaty “Bad Men” Claim in Police Killing on Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation

Here are the treaty claim materials in Jones v. Norton (D. Utah):

DCT Order Dismissing Treaty Claim

Motion for Judgment on Pleadings

Plaintiffs’ Opposition


Section 1983 Claim against Off-Reservation Police Officer Engaged in On-Reservation Duty Survives

Because the officer had no jurisdiction in Indian Country: Jones v Norton (D. Utah).

An excerpt:

The Plaintiffs have filed this lawsuit against various Defendants in connection with the shooting death of Todd R. Mr. Murray which occurred while he was being pursued by police on the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation. Defendants Vance Norton and Vernal City move to dismiss the claims against them.

The court holds that Detective Norton did not have jurisdiction to seize Mr. Murray. Because there are disputed issues of fact concerning whether Mr. Murray was seized and whether exigent circumstances justified the seizure if it occurred, the court DENIES Defendants’ motion to dismiss the § 1983 claims. But the court holds that the Utah Governmental Immunity Act applies to state law enforcement on Indian reservations and accordingly GRANTS Defendants’ motion to dismiss the state law claims.