Nobles v. North Carolina Cert Petition



Cert Petition

Questions presented:

The Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1153, grants the federal courts exclusive jurisdiction over listed offenses committed by an “Indian.”

The Questions Presented are:
I. How does one determine whether a defendant is an Indian?

II. Is Indian status a jury question?

Lower court materials here.

North Carolina SCT Decides Indian Status in Criminal Jurisdiction Case

Here are the materials in State v. Nobles:





Lower court materials here.

N.C. Trial Court Concludes First Generation Eastern Band Cherokee Descedent a Non-Indian for Criminal Jurisdiction Purposes

Here is the opinion in State v. Nobles:

Nobles Order Final 112613

Briefs are here.

Materials in North Carolina Capital Murder Case against First Generation Eastern Band Cherokee Descendant — A Reverse Crow Dog Case

Here are the materials in State v. Nobles:

Nobles Motion to Dismiss

Motion to dismiss (amended)

State’s Brief

Reply Brief

News coverage:

Sylva Herald 8-12

Sylva Herald 9-18

MSU Law Prof Study Helps N.C. Inmates (inc. a Lumbee Indian) Get Off Death Row



After the act was passed, researchers from Michigan State University studied the application of the death penalty in North Carolina and found that peremptory challenges had been used to remove blacks from juries at a rate more than twice that of whites, a rate that was even higher in Cumberland County. Removing potential jurors solely on the basis of race has been ruled unconstitutional.


Mr. Golphin and Mr. Augustine are black, and Ms. Walters is a Lumbee Indian. They were convicted of unrelated murders and have been on death row at least 10 years. Their victims included whites and blacks; in Mr. Golphin’s and Mr. Augustine’s cases, the victims were law enforcement officers.

A summary of the study is here.

A paper by the study’s authors, Catherine Grosso and Barbara O’Brien, in the Iowa Law Review about the study is here.