State Jurisdiction in Indian Country

rakeshmohaneval

r1702

State Jurisdiction in Indian Country

Implementing Public Law 280 is primarily the

responsibility of county governments. County governments

are most affected by the additional law enforcement obligations

in Indian country. The judiciary and several executive agencies

also have related responsibilities.

The operation of jurisdiction in Indian country raises

concerns about public safety and equal treatment.

Stakeholders shared concerns with us about public safety. These

concerns include gaps in law enforcement, a lack of jurisdiction

to enforce laws, or coordinating responsibility. They expressed

concerns that Indian country may be a haven for non-Indian

criminals.

Some stakeholders also raised concerns that shared jurisdiction

creates the possibility for inadequate or unequal sentences or for

a lack of access to state resources for Indians through tribal

courts.

Public Law 280 does not provide federal funding to

state or local governments. Although the state may receive

matching funds for certain program expenditures, the federal

government does not fund the implementation of Public Law

280. County governments must fulfill their additional

responsibilities without additional funding.

Public Law 280 may reduce federal funding to

tribes. Some studies have found that federal funding is much

lower for tribal criminal justice in mandatory Public Law 280

states. Although Idaho is not a mandatory state, tribes here may

be similarly affected.

What happens next

Concerns about Public Law 280 are entangled in a complex web

of jurisdiction and relationships. Regardless of the confusion

added by Public Law 280, Idaho citizens will best be served by

tribal, local, and state governments that work well together.

Providing quality services in Indian country is not a static

problem to solve but a dynamic problem that requires persistent

effort.

Providing quality

services in Indian

country is not a

static problem to

solve but a

dynamic problem

that requires

persistent effort.

7

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