Mealey's Native American Law

  • February 19, 2021

    Dismissal Denied For Post-McGirt Federal Murder Charges Against Tribal Member

    MUSKOGEE, Okla. — A Native American whose state court murder conviction was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent finding that the entire reservation of his tribe, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma, is still intact lost his bid to dismiss a federal indictment charging him with the same crimes when a U.S. judge in the state on Feb. 18 rejected his statute of limitations and pre-indictment delay arguments.

  • February 19, 2021

    Indian Police Jurisdiction Ruling Proper, Suspect Tells High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals correctly limited the jurisdiction of Indian police officers to detain non-Indian suspects because “inherent tribal sovereignty does not include police power over non-Indians on a right-of-way,” the criminal suspect who was detained in the case says in a Feb. 12 response brief seeking affirmance by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • February 18, 2021

    Magistrate: Sovereignty Rule Bars Indian Sex Offender’s Bid To Vacate Sentence

    PHOENIX — A tribal member who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a mentally challenged woman cannot show that his attorney was ineffective for not arguing a double jeopardy defense based on the man’s tribal court conviction for the same incident, an Arizona federal magistrate judge said Feb. 16 in recommending denial of the defendant’s motion to vacate his more than 18-year prison sentence.

  • February 17, 2021

    Tribal Group Denied Injunction To Halt Land Deal For Copper Mine

    PHOENIX — An Indian group is not entitled to an injunction to stop the United States from conveying land in Arizona for development of a copper mine because it lacks standing and will probably not succeed on its claims, a federal judge in the state ruled Feb. 12 in denying injunctive relief.

  • February 17, 2021

    Sale Of National Archives Building In Seattle Put On Hold By Federal Judge

    SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Feb. 12 agreed in a minute order to issue a preliminary injunction to stop the planned sale of the National Archives building in Seattle, which was requested by two states and dozens of Indian tribes, tribal organizations and historical preservation groups that sued to keep the archives’ “profoundly important records” where they are.

  • February 16, 2021

    Indian Father’s Challenge To Child’s Guardianship After He Killed Mother Denied

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota courts did not violate the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in granting permanent guardianship of a 6-year-old child whose mother was killed by the child’s Indian father to the child’s maternal aunt and uncle, while other claims by the father are precluded by the act, a federal judge in the state ruled Feb. 9 in granting summary judgment to the aunt and uncle.

  • February 12, 2021

    Treaty Status Of Tribe Has To Be Decided In Fishing Rights Row, Panel Rules

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Michigan trial court needs to decide whether an Indian tribe is the political successor in interest to a signatory tribe of a 1836 treaty in order to determine whether a member of the tribe should be convicted for illegal fishing, a state appeals court panel held Feb. 11 in remanding the dispute.

  • February 11, 2021

    Judge Denies Tribe’s Intervention Bid In Suit Over Casino Operating In Pandemic

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Feb. 8 declined to allow an Indian tribe to intervene in a wrongful discharge suit filed by the former general manager of the tribe’s casino over the casino’s refusal to stay closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that the tribe does not have a “significantly protectable interest” in the dispute.

  • February 09, 2021

    2nd Circuit:  State Cigarette Rule Challenged By Indian Company Is Constitutional

    NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 8 affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a Canadian First Nations-owned cigarette manufacturer’s constitutional challenge to a Connecticut state regulation requiring detailed import and sales records after finding that potential discrepancies in the manufacturer’s records caused by sales in Indian country will not immediately cause the manufacturer to lose its sales license.

  • February 09, 2021

    Federal Agencies Get Remand To Reexamine Bison Hunts Near Yellowstone

    BILLINGS, Mont. — A Montana federal judge on Feb. 5 granted voluntary remand of a dispute over an annual bison hunt targeting the Yellowstone National Park herd so the federal agencies that asked for the remand can perform an additional environmental study on the effects of the hunt on the herd.

  • February 09, 2021

    Crow Tribe Wants Ruling Rejecting Hunting Rights In Wyoming Vacated

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 1994 federal court ruling that the Crow Tribe of Indians’ off-reservation treaty hunting rights were extinguished upon Wyoming’s statehood should be vacated in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s repudiation in 2019 of the precedent upon which the ruling was based, the tribe argues in a Jan. 27 motion in the federal court.

  • February 08, 2021

    Federal Judge Denies Injunction For Work On Enbridge Pipeline

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Feb. 7 declined a request by two Native American tribes and two environmental groups to stop work on a 338-mile section of replacement pipeline in Minnesota and North Dakota, saying the challengers failed to show that they are likely to succeed on their claims or will be irreparably harmed by having the work continue.

  • February 08, 2021

    Federal Claims Judge Grants Partial Summary Judgment In Water Takings Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal claims court judge on Jan. 14 granted partial summary judgment for the United States in an alleged water takings lawsuit filed by 15 water project customers, finding that because the plaintiffs’ contract is with a water district and not the United States, there is no privity that allows them to sue the United States.

  • February 05, 2021

    Cert Unwarranted For Sovereign Immunity Ruling, Florida Tribe Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals correctly ruled that sovereign immunity protects a Florida Indian tribe from claims that it violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) in a church leadership dispute, so U.S. Supreme Court review is not needed, the tribe argues in a Feb. 2 brief in opposition to the church’s bid for certiorari.

  • February 04, 2021

    Minnesota Appeals Court Allows Work On Enbridge Replacement Line To Proceed

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission did not abuse its discretion in refusing to halt construction on a replacement oil pipeline while the agency’s permits for the project are under appeal, a state appeals court panel ruled Feb. 1 in denying a motion for a stay filed by two Indian tribes.

  • February 03, 2021

    Native American Group: Injunction On Fracking Needed Pending Drilling Appeal

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Native American group that advocates for “a balanced Earth” on Feb. 2 moved in Alaska federal court for an injunction pending an appeal of a district court order that denied the group a restraining order to prevent hydraulic fracturing activities in the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope.

  • February 03, 2021

    Judge Stands By Decision For Blue Cross Blue Shield On Tribe’s ERISA Claims

    BAY CITY, Mich. — A Michigan federal judge on Feb. 1 declined to alter his judgment in favor of a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer he said did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to pay Medicare-like rates for hospital services under a health care plan for tribal members.

  • February 03, 2021

    Judge Stops Planned Closure Of Indian Hospital In New Mexico

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A, federal judge in the District of Columbia on Jan. 29 issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) to keep the Department of Health and Human Services from closing an Indian hospital in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic due to lack of funding.

  • February 02, 2021

    Intent Of Slain Indian For Jury To Decide, Panel Rules After Reconsidering

    SEATTLE — The intent of a pregnant, suicidal Indian woman when raising a gun toward two policemen, who then shot and killed her, is a question of fact for a jury decide, not a judge, a Washington appeals court held Feb. 1 in reversing summary judgment for the officers and remanding for trial after reconsidering its first decision affirming the ruling.

  • February 01, 2021

    South Dakota Supreme Court:  State Officer Had Jurisdiction On Indian Land

    PIERRE, S.D. — A South Dakota state police officer had the authority to investigate state offenses while in Indian country, and his actions did not infringe upon tribal sovereignty, the state’s Supreme Court held Jan. 27 in reversing a trial court’s decision to suppress statements a tribal suspect made to the officer.

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