Colorado Federal Court Refuses to Accept Plea Deal for Lesser Included Offense in Major Crimes Act Prosecution

Here are the materials in United States v. English (D. Colo.):

1 Indictment

33 Joint Memorandum in Support of Plea Agreement

36 Magistrate Minute Order: “This Court does not have jurisdiction over the charge in the proposed Plea Agreement. . . .”

37 Government Objection

39 English Objection

41 DCT Order

An excerpt:

The Major Crimes Act represents one way in which Congress has permitted federal courts to exercise jurisdiction over crimes occurring on tribal lands which otherwise would be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the tribal courts. Now codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1153, the Act gives federal courts exclusive federal jurisdiction over certain enumerated felonies occurring between Indians in Indian Country, including, specifically, “a felony assault under section 113.” 18 U.S.C.A. § 1153(a). See also United States v. Burch, 169 F.3d 666, 669 (10th Cir. 1999). Prosecution of crimes not expressly designated in section 1153, including, specifically, simple assault – is reserved to the tribal courts, in recognition of their inherent sovereignty over such matters. United States v. Antelope, 430 U.S. 641, 643 n.1, 97 S.Ct. 1395, 1397 n.1, 51 L.Ed.2d 701 (1977); United States v. Quiver, 241 U.S. 602, 700-01, 36 S.Ct. 699, 605-06, 60 L.Ed. 1196 (1916); United States v. Burch, 169 F.3d 666, 668-69 (10thCir. 1999). See also United States v. Lara, 541 U.S. 193, 199, 124 S.Ct. 1628, 1632-33, 158 L.Ed.2d 420 (2004) (“[25 U.S.C. § 1301] says that it ‘recognize[s] and affirm[s]’ in each tribe the ‘inherent’ tribal power … to prosecute nonmember Indians for misdemeanors.”).

Tribal Business and Biofuel

From the NYTs:

IGNACIO, Colo. — An unusual experiment featuring equal parts science, environmental optimism and Native American capitalist ambition is unfolding here on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in southwest Colorado.

With the twin goals of making fuel from algae and reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases, a start-up company co-founded by a Colorado State University professor recently introduced a strain of algae that loves carbon dioxide into a water tank next to a natural gas processing plant. The water is already green-tinged with life.

The Southern Utes, one of the nation’s wealthiest American Indian communities thanks to its energy and real-estate investments, is a major investor in the professor’s company. It hopes to gain a toehold in what tribal leaders believe could be the next billion-dollar energy boom.

But from the tribe’s perspective, the business model here is about more than business. “It’s a marriage of an older way of thinking into a modern time,” said the tribe’s chairman, Matthew J. Box, referring to the interplay of environmental consciousness and investment opportunity around algae.

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