- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Tribal Law
- Date Filed: 09-13-2022
- Case #: No. 21-30172
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Sandra S. Ikuta and Eric D. Miller, Circuit Judges, and Dean D. Pregerson, District Judge. Opinion by Judge Miller.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant appealed from the denial of his motion to suppress evidence. Defendant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm after his motion was denied, reserving his right to appeal. On appeal, Defendant argued that the cross-deputization agreement between the Fort Peck Tribes and the State of Montana, giving Montana state troopers the authority of tribal police officers, was invalid because “the Tribes lack authority to deputize state law-enforcement officers to enforce tribal laws” or because the cross-deputization agreement lacked federal approval, and the traffic stop by a Montana state trooper that produced the evidence was therefore invalid. The inherent sovereignty of a tribe to prescribe and enforce laws necessarily includes the right to designate the individuals who will enforce its laws. The Court noted that the agreement granted Montana law enforcement officers authority to enforce tribal law and explained that neither Congressional plenary power nor federal law prevents the Tribes from designating state law-enforcement officials as individuals who may be vested with the authority to enforce tribal law. The Court noted that the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 authorizes tribes to enter into compacts with Federal, State, and local governments. The Court also rejected Defendant’s second theory, finding that the Bureau of Indian Affairs did approve the agreement with respect to the trooper's authority, though BIA approval was not required in the first instance. Affirmed.