Indian Law Bulletins  |  State Courts  |  Archives 2003

December

Ruby A. v. State of Alaska, Dept. Health and Social Services
2003 WL 23018276, Docket No. S-10921, S-10933
Supreme Court of Alaska, Dec. 29, 2003

Subjects: Alaska. Dept. of Health and Social Services; Child abuse; Sex crimes; Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- Alaska; Child welfare; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978; Equality before the law.

*Synopsis: Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS) petitioned to terminate mother's and father's parental rights to their children. The Superior Court granted petition. Mother and father appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court held that:
(1) evidence supported finding that mother and father had placed children at substantial risk of abuse and had failed to remedy the conduct creating the risk;
(2) evidence was sufficient to support finding that DFYS provided father with appropriate services to reunite him with his family; and
(3) trial court was not required to defer terminating mother's parental rights so that mother would have had more time to prove she intended to stay separated from father who had abused children. Affirmed.

State v. Farron
2003 WL 23024037, Docket No. 29323-4-II
Court of Appeals of Washington, Div. 2, Dec. 23, 2003

Subjects: Tribal members; Jurisdiction -- Criminal actions arising in Indian Country; Burglary; Theft; Jurisdiction -- Washington.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Thomas L. Farron appeals the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas to three counts of burglary and one count of theft. After entering a plea bargain in which the State agreed to dismiss a fifth count of indecent liberties, Farron learned that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over one charged burglary count and over the dismissed count because the crimes charged in these counts occurred on tribal land and he is a member of the tribe. Holding that Farron's lack of knowledge about the jurisdictional defect created a manifest injustice justifying withdrawal of his plea, we reverse.

*Holding: not yet available

In re T.J.H., J.H., J.L., and A.L.
81 P.3d 504, Docket No. 03-343
Supreme Court of Montana, Dec. 18, 2003

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- Montana; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Child welfare; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

*Synopsis: Mother appealed an order of the District Court, 13th Judicial District, Yellowstone County, Diane G. Barz, J., terminating her parental rights to her children.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, W. William Leaphart, J., held that: (1) sufficient evidence established that children were not Indian children for purposes of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and (2) substantial evidence supported termination of mother's parental rights. Affirmed.

State of Minnesota v. LaRose
2003 WL 22952750, Docket Nos. C5-03-93, C9-03-95.
Court of Appeals, Minnesota, Dec. 16, 2003

Subjects: Marijuana; Tribal members -- Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota (Six component reservations: Bois Forte Band (Nett Lake);Fond du Lac Band; Leech Lake Band; Mille Lacs Band; White Earth Band; Minnesota -- Jurisdiction; Intergovernmental agreements; Jurisdiction -- Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota (Six component reservations: Bois Forte Band (Nett Lake);Fond du Lac Band; Leech Lake Band; Mille Lacs Band; White Earth Band; Indian resevation police; Warrants (Law).

*Synopsis: Enrolled member of Indian band, who resided on reservation, was charged with fifth-degree possession of marijuana. After parties agreed to try case on stipulated facts, the Cass County District Court found defendant guilty. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed and remanded. While first case was pending, defendant was again charged with fifth-degree possession of marijuana. After trial on stipulated facts, the Cass County District Court found defendant guilty, and defendant appealed.

*Holding: On consolidated appeal, the Court of Appeals, Randall, J., held that: (1) state laws prohibiting possession of marijuana were criminal in nature, and thus state had jurisdiction; (2) state was not required to retrocede its jurisdiction to enter into cooperative agreement with tribe; and (3) tribal law enforcement officer had authority to execute search warrant on reservation. Affirmed.

Cupo v. Seminole Tribe of Florida
2003 WL 22908224, Docket No. 1D02-3048
DistrictCourt of Appeal of Florida, First District, Dec. 11, 2003

Subjects: Workers' compensation; Accidents; Seminole Tribe of Florida, Dania, Big Cypress, Brighton, Hollywood & Tampa Reservations; Jurisdiction -- Florida; Sovereign immunity -- Seminole Tribe of Florida, Dania, Big Cypress, Brighton, Hollywood & Tampa Reservations; United States. Constitution.

*Synopsis: In this workers' compensation appeal, claimant, James Cupo, filed a petition for benefits asserting that he was injured during the course and scope of his employment with the employer, the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The judge of compensation claims dismissed the petition based upon lack of subject-matter jurisdiction over the Tribe. Cupo contends that the ruling violated his right to contract under Article I, Section 10, of the United States Constitution.

*Holding: The court affirms, because Cupo failed to show a clear, express and unmistakable waiver of sovereign immunity by the Tribe, or any Act of Congress abrogating the Tribe's sovereign immunity.

November

In the Matter of C.H., S.H., and D.H., Youths in Need of Care
79 P.3d 822,Docket No. 03-148
Supreme Court of Montana, Nov. 7, 2003

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- Montana; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Child welfare; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

*Synopsis: Mother appealed an order of the District Court, Thirteenth Judicial District, Yellowstone County, Susan P. Watters, P.J., terminating her parental rights to her children

*Holding: The Supreme Court, W. William Leaphart, J., held that: (1) Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not apply to child; (2) Supreme Court would not apply Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to other child; and (3) termination of mother's parental rights was appropriate.

In re Karla C.
2003 WL 22534263, Docket Nos.D042048, D042060
Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1, California, November 10, 2003.

Subjects: San Diego County (Calif.). Dept. of Health Services; Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- California; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Child welfare; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978; Legal notices.

*Synopsis: County health and human services agency filed dependency petition on behalf of minor girl. The Superior Court of San Diego County, No. J514858, Richard J. Neely, Referee, declared girl a dependent of the court and removed her from parental custody. Parents appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeal, McConnell, J., held that:(1) notice of dependent child's possible Indian status must be filed with the court, and(2) noncompliance with notice requirements of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was not harmless. Reversed and remanded with directions

State of Minnesota v. Stevens
2003 WL 22481328, Docket No. A03-216
Court of Appeals, Minnesota, November 4, 2003

Subjects: Minnesota; Indians of North America -- Enrolled members of a tribe; Traffic violations -- On Indian reservations; Drivers' licenses; Jurisdiction; Drinking of alcoholic beverages.

*Synopsis: Appellant, a tribal member, was charged with driving in violation of a restricted license while on a reservation. The district court denied appellant's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, concluding that Minn.Stat. § 171.09(b)(1) (2002) is criminal in nature. Appellant, who was subsequently convicted, now challenges the district court's ruling, arguing that the State of Minnesota has no jurisdiction over a tribal member driving on a reservation after consuming alcohol in violation of a restricted license. Affirmed.

*Holding:not yet available

In re SNK
2003 WL 2247940, Docket No. C-03-5
Supreme Court of Wyoming, November 4, 2003

Subjects: Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming; Child abuse; Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- Wyoming; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Child welfare; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

*Synopsis: Child neglect proceedings were brought against Native American child's biological mother. At review hearing, the District Court, Park County, Hunter Patrick, J., determined that Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not apply to proceedings. Tribe appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Lehman, J., held that: (1) Supreme Court could review tribes claims under certiorari power even if trial court's order was not final; (2) challenge to trial court's determination that ICWA did not apply was rendered moot by subsequent order placing child with ex- stepfather and granting tribe right to continue to participate as party. Appeal dismissed.

October

Native Village of Napaimute Traditional Council v. Terence W. and Lucy W.
2003 WL 22463001, Docket Nos. S- 10489
Supreme Court of Alaska, Oct. 31, 2003.

Subjects: Native Village of Napaimute; Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- Alaska; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Child welfare; Adoption; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978; Adoptive parents; Non-Indians.

*Synopsis: Indian mother relinquished her parental rights to child and placed him with a non-Indian couple, couple petitioned to adopt child, and then mother changed her mind about adoption of child and opposed adoption. The Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, John Reese, J., found good cause to deviate from the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and finalized couple's adoption of child. Mother appealed, and then reaffirmed her consent to couple adopting child.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Fabe, C.J., held that: (1) Indian mother's conditional relinquishment of her parental rights was invalid, and (2) Evidence supported finding that the trial court had good cause to deviate from the ICWA placement preferences. Affirmed; remanded.

Dark-eyes v. Commissioner of Revenue Services
2003 WL 22709023, No. CV020512959S
Superior Court of Connecticut, Oct. 30, 2003

Subjects: Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut -- Members; Taxation, State -- Indian Country (U.S.); Income tax -- Connecticut; Real property -- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut; Real property -- Off Indian reservations; Indian Country (U.S.) -- Defined.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The issue in this tax appeal is whether the plaintiff, Jo-Ann Dark-Eyes (Dark-Eyes), a member of the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Tribal Nation (Tribe), residing on property owned by the Tribe but located off the Tribe's reservation, was residing in "Indian country" for the calendar years of 1996, 1997 and 1998, and therefore not subject to the payment of the Connecticut state income tax on income earned from the Tribe during those tax years. The reason why this is an issue is that constitutional principles govern the state's lack of power to impose an income tax on Indians living in "Indian country," but have the power to tax Indians living outside of "Indian country."

*Holding: not yet available

State of Idaho v. Doe
79 P.3d 165 Docket No. 28753
Court of Appeals of Idaho, Oct. 21, 2003

Subjects: Teenagers; Assault and battery; Juvenile courts -- Jurisdiction -- Idaho.

*Synopsis: Juvenile defendant was found in the Third Judicial District Court, Canyon County, Juneal C. Kerrick, J., and Gregory M. Culet, Magistrate, to have committed offense of battery. Juvenile appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Lansing, C.J., held that juvenile, by failing to allege that juvenile court had no jurisdiction over her for battery charge prior to evidentiary hearing on such charge, waived her right to assert on appeal any challenge to juvenile court's jurisdiction.

Zeth v. Johnson
765 N.Y.S.2d 403
Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York.,Oct. 2, 2003.

Subjects: Indians of North America -- Enrolled members of a tribe; Liability for traffic accidents -- New York; Snowplows; Indian business enterprises; Privileges and immunities.

*Synopsis: Suit was brought seeking for damages for injuries sustained by driver of vehicle stuck by tribe-owned snowplow operated by tribal member in the course of his employment by tribe. The Supreme Court, Cattaraugus County, Nenno, J., denied tribal member's motion to dismiss, and he appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that tribal member was immune from suit.

September

People v. Britt
2003 WL 22255801, Docket No. 4-03-0206
Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, September 30, 2003

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- Illinois; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Child welfare; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901).

*Synopsis: State filed petition to terminate parental rights. The Circuit Court, Champaign County, Ann A. Einhorn, J., found parents unfit, and found it in child's best interest that parental rights be terminated. Mother appealed.

*Holding: The Appellate Court, Turner, J., held that: (1) the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was not applicable; (2) state's petition to terminate parental rights was not defective; (3) sufficient evidence supported trial court's finding of unfitness; and (4) sufficient evidence supported trial court's finding that it was in child's best interest that mother's parental rights be terminated.
Affirmed.

Houle v. School District of Ashland
2003 WL 22232641, Docket No. 03-0020
Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, September 30, 2003

Subjects: Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the Bad River Reservation, Wisconsin; School District of Ashland (Wis.); Indian children -- Enrolled members of a tribe; Indian children -- Wounds and injuries; Liability for school accidents; Subrogation; Health facilities -- Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the Bad River Reservation, Wisconsin; Medical care, Cost of.

*Synopsis: Following a dispositional hearing, the Circuit Court, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Pennington County, Janine M. Kern, J., terminated mother's parental rights to Native American child. Mother appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court held that: (1) aggravating circumstances existed under state law to justify termination of reasonable efforts to reunify mother and child pursuant to federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA); (2) trial court properly determined that continued custody with mother would likely result in serious emotional or physical damage to child and that there was no less restrictive alternative in best interests of child; and (3) state Department of Social Services (DSS) complied with requirement of federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) that active efforts were made to provide programs to prevent breakup of Indian family.
Affirmed.

Luken v. Brigano
2003 WL 22227546, Docket No. CA2003-01-007
Court of Appeals, Ohio, September 29, 2003

Subjects: Ohio. Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction -- Officials and employees; Long hair; Freedom of religion -- Ohio; Ohio. Constitution; Warren County Correctional Institution (Ohio).

*Synopsis: Employee of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) filed complaint against warden of county correctional institution and ODRC's director, claiming that ODRC's grooming policy violated right of conscience under state constitution and requesting injunctive relief. The Court of Common Pleas, Warren County, No. 02CV59433, granted defendants' motion for summary judgment. Employee appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, William W. Young, P.J., held that: (1) state constitution's Freedom of Religion Clause did not confer protection to a general right of conscience, and (2) employee's beliefs concerning spiritual prohibition on cutting his hair did not rise to level of religious beliefs for purposes of protections of Freedom of Religion Clause. Affirmed.

Womack v. Schmidt
2003 WL 22479969 Docket No. 98,899
Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, September 19, 2003

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- Oklahoma; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Child welfare; Adoption; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

*Synopsis: Father and his wife petitioned to terminate mother's parental rights and to declare child eligible for adoption without mother's consent.

*Holding: The District Court, Caddo County, David E. Powell, J., denied the petition. Father and wife appealed. The Court of Civil Appeals, Adams, P.J., held that: (1) trial court's failure to appoint independent counsel to represent minor child was fundemental error, and (2) federal Indian Welfare Act (ICWA) was inapplicable. Reversed and remanded.

The PEOPLE of the State of South Dakota, In the Interest of D.B., III. A MinorChild, and Concerning D.C., Respondent and D.B., II, Interested Party
2003 WL 22159345 , Docket No. 22707.
Supreme Court of South Dakota, Sept. 17, 2003.

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- South Dakota; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Child welfare; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901); United States. Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997.

*Synopsis: Following a dispositional hearing, the Circuit Court, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Pennington County, Janine M. Kern, J., terminated mother's parental rights to Native American child. Mother appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court held that: (1) aggravating circumstances existed under state law to justify termination of reasonable efforts to reunify mother and child pursuant to federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA); (2) trial court properly determined that continued custody with mother would likely result in serious emotional or physical damage to child and that there was no less restrictive alternative in best interests of child; and (3) state Department of Social Services (DSS) complied with requirement of federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) that active efforts were made to provide programs to prevent breakup of Indian family. Affirmed.

Romero v. Pueblo of Sandia/Sandia Casino
80 P.3d 490, Docket No.23,142
Court of Appeals of New Mexico, Sep. 29, 2003

Subjects: Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico; Sandia Casino (N.M.); Indian gaming; Gambling on Indian reservations; Negligence -- Cases; Jurisdiction -- New Mexico.

*Synopsis: Patron brought negligence action against casino and its insurer for injuries she sustained on stairway. The District Court, Bernalillo County, Robert H. Scott, D.J., granted insurer a dismissal. Patron appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Fry, J., held that: (1) Court of Appeals had jurisdiction to hear appeal, even though patron failed to file timely notice of appeal, and (2) patron was entitled to join liability insurer of casino in negligence action against casino under exception to general rule prohibiting such joinder absent a contractual provision. Reversed and remanded.

August

Koyukuk River Basin Moose Co-management Team v. Board of Game
76 P.3d 383, Docket No. S-10513
Supreme Court of Alaska, August 22, 2003

Subjects: Koyukuk River Basin Moose Co-management Team (Alaska); Alaska native villages; Alaska. Dept. of Fish and Game; Alaska. Board of Game; Alaska; Moose; Wildlife conservation -- Alaska; Subsistence rights -- Alaska.

*Synopsis:Coalition of native villages sued Board of Game, Commissioner of Department of Fish and Game, and State, alleging moose management plan violated state constitution's sustained yield principle or subsistence statutes. The Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks, Mary E. Greene, J., entered summary judgment for defendants, and coalition appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Eastaugh, J., held that: (1) Board of Game was within its discretion in not managing moose in controlled use area, which lay in two game management units (GMUs), as a distinct game population; (2) Board was not required to make findings under intensive management statute or subsistence statute for moose in the controlled use area; and (3) Board was not required to implement intensive management techniques for moose in controlled use area. Affirmed.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough v. Ketchikan Indian Corporation
75 P.3d 1042, Docket No. S-10332
Supreme Court of Alaska, August 15, 2003

Subjects: Real property tax -- Alaska; Buildings -- Utilization; Clinics -- Ketchikan Indian Corporation; Ketchikan Gateway Borough (Alaska); United States. Indian Health Service.

*Synopsis: Indian corporation sought judicial review of decision of the borough board of equalization accepting assessor's finding that only 60% of building in which it operated a health clinic was exempt from borough taxes, and also filed separate suit seeking a tax refund. The borough cross-appealed board's decision and filed a counterclaim seeking declaration that the clinic was not a nonprofit hospital.

*Holding: On consolidation of the cases, the Superior Court, First Judicial District, Ketchikan, Trevor N. Stephens, J., dismissed the cross-appeal, and entered judgment that property was entirely exempt. Borough appealed. The Supreme Court, Matthews, J., held that: (1) the uncommitted space in the building was not exempt from borough taxes under the implied federal preemption doctrine, and (2) the Indian corporation was not entitled to full reasonable costs and attorney's fees.
Reversed and remanded.
Fabe, C.J., dissented and filed opinion in which Carpeneti, J., joined.

Luther Construction Co., Inc. v. Arizona Dept. of Revenue
2003 WL 21940030, Docket No.1 CA-TX 02-0018
Court of Appeals, Arizona, August 14, 2003

Subjects: Government contractors -- United States; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Construction industry -- Taxation -- Arizona.

*Synopsis: Taxpayer appealed assessment of transaction privilege tax on payments by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to taxpayer for construction projects on reservation. The Arizona Tax Court, Cause No. TX 00-000513, Paul A. Katz, J., granted summary judgment against taxpayer's estoppel claim. Taxpayer appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Timmer, J., held that: (1) factual issues concerning inconsistent acts, actual and reasonable reliance on prior inconsistent positions, and substantial detriment to taxpayer precluded summary judgment; (2) audit report, tax refund, and accompanying letters were inconsistent acts supporting equitable estoppel; and (3) taxpayer did not need to prove that it would have successfully passed the tax to the BIA.
Reversed and remanded.

In the Matter of K.S., D.S., and C.S., Youths In Need of Care
75 P.3d 325, Docket No.02-333.
Supreme Court of Montana, Aug. 12, 2003.

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- Montana; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Child welfare; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901); Witnesses.

*Synopsis: Mother appealed from an order of the District Court, Cascade County, Julie Macek, J., terminating her parental rights to her children.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Regnier, J., held that: (1) witness qualified as an expert to testify for purposes of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and (2) substantial evidence supported termination.
Affirmed

Simms v. Napolitano
73 P.3d 631, Docket No. 1 CA-CV 02-0281
Court of Appeals of Arizona, August 5, 2003

Subjects: Arizona. Dept. of Gaming; T.P. Racing, LLLP; Horse racing -- Betting; Contractors; Gambling on Indian reservations -- Arizona; Indian gaming -- Arizona; Casinos -- Arizona; License agreements -- Arizona; Police power.

*Synopsis: Applicant for certification to provide gaming services brought action against Department of Gaming, seeking to prevent Department from denying application, given that applicant requested to withdraw application. The Superior Court, Maricopa County, No. CV 01-014685, Roland J. Steinle, J., determined that Department did not have authority to deny request to withdraw application. State appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Gemmill, J., held that: (1) Department is exercising its police power when administering the licensing of gaming activities, and (2) Department has authority to deny withdrawal of an application for certification. Reversed and remanded.

July

People in the interest of D.T. junior, minor child
N.W.2d 694, Docket No. CIV.A.96-1285 RCL
Supreme Court of South Dakota, July 23, 2003

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- South Dakota; Child abuse; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901); Children -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- South Dakota.

*Synopsis: Father appealed an order of the Circuit Court, Second Judicial Circuit, Minnehaha County, Glen Severson, J., adjudicating his child as abused and neglected, and terminating his parental rights to his child.

*Holding: The Supreme Court held that: (1) trial court was justified in taking judicial notice of the fact that father had had his rights to other children terminated for abuse and neglect; (2) clear and convincing evidence standard of state abuse and neglect statute, rather than standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, required by Indian Children Welfare Act (ICWA), applied in determining whether termination of father's parental rights was in child's best interest; and (3) termination of father's parental rights was in child's best interest and was least restrictive alternative available.

Teague v. Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
665 N.W.2d. 899, Docket No. 01-1256
Supreme Court of Wisconsin, July 17, 2003

Subjects: Breach of contract; Employees -- Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the Bad River Reservation, Wisconsin; Jurisdiction -- Deference to tribal courts. Wisconsin.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe's former employee sued the tribe for breach of employment contracts. Tribe filed a complaint in the tribal court for a declaratory judgement that the contracts were invalid.

*Holding: The Circuit Court, Ashland County, Thomas J. Gallagher, Jr., entered in favor of former employee and denied the tribe's motion to dismiss subsequent garnishment action. Consolidating tribe's appeals from both decisions, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. Former employee petitioned for review. The Supreme Court, Diane S. Sykes, J., reversed and remanded for jurisdictional allocation conference. On remand, the Circuit Court, Thomas J. Gallagher, J., denied tribe's motion to reopen judgement. Tribe appealed. The Court of Appeals certified the case. The Supreme Court, Shirley S. Abrahamson, C.J., held in concurring opinion that principles of comity favored the circuit court ceding jurisdiction to the tribal court.

Hill v. Eppolito
766 N.Y.S.2d 509
Supreme Court, Madison County, New York, July 16, 2003

Subjects: Harassment; Double jeopardy -- New York; Oneida Nation of New York -- Members; State courts -- New York.

*Synopsis: Following his acquittal by Indian Tribal Court of harassment in second degree, member of Oneida Indian Nation who was charged with same offense by state court moved for dismissal based on double jeopardy. The Oneida City Court, Eppolito, J., 194 Misc.2d 347, 754 N.Y.S.2d 826, denied motion. Petitioner commenced Article 78 proceeding against judge and district attorney seeking to vacate decision, to enjoin any further prosecution , and to dismiss the information.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, County of Madison, William F. O'Brien, III, J., held that Tribal Court was included as court of "any jurisdiction within the United States" within meaning of state double jeopardy statute.

State v. Olney
72 P.3d 235, Docket Nos. 21010-3-III, 21011-1-III
Court of Appeals, Div. 3, Washington, July 8, 2003

Subjects: Indians of North America -- Enrolled members of a tribe; Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation of the Yakima Reservation, Washington -- Treaties; Hunting rights; Treaty rights; Shotguns; Rifles; Motor vehicles; Police power -- Washington; Game protection -- Washington.

*Synopsis: Native American defendants were convicted in consolidated trials in the District Court, Yakima County, Ruth Reukauf, J., of possession of a loaded rifle or shotgun in a motor vehicle. Defendants appealed. The Superior Court, Yakima County, C. James Lust, J., affirmed.

*Holding: In a consolidated appeal, the Court of Appeals, Brown, J., held that: (1) statute, criminalizing possession of a loaded rifle or shotgun in a motor vehicle, did not infringe on Native Americans' treaty hunting rights under Treaty of 1855, and (2) statute did not exceed scope of state's police power to regulate game conservation.

June

Schaghticoke Tribal Nation v. Harrison
2003 WL 21689658, Docket No. 16874, 16875
Supreme Court of Connecticut, June 29, 2003

Subjects: Faction -- Schaghticoke Tribal Nation (Connecticut); Reservation Indians; Timber removal -- Schaghticoke Tribal Nation (Connecticut); Trespass; State-recognized Indian Tribes -- Connecticut; Standing to sue.

*Synopsis: Faction of state-recognized Indian tribe brought common-law trespass against resident of tribal reservation in connection with removal of timber from reservation. Resident moved for lack of standing, and another faction of same tribe, of which resident was a member, moved to intervene. The Superior court, Judicial District of Litchfield, Cremins, J., denied motion to intervene and granted motion to dismiss. Both parties, as well as proposed intervenor, appealed.

*Holding: appeals, the Supreme Court, Sullivan, C.J., held that: (1) plaintiff faction was entitled to evidentiary hearing on issue of standing; (2) a decision by a federal Bureau of Indian Affairs regarding plaintiff faction's pending petition for federal recognition as an Indian tribe was not a prerequisite to determining whether plaintiff faction had standing to bring present action, and (3) denial of other faction's motion to intervene was improper.

Related news story: Supreme Court Overturns Tribal Dispute Decision (AP) 7/21/03

State v. Burgess
2003 WL No. 00-3074
Supreme Court of Wisconsin, June 27, 2003

Subjects: Sex offenders -- Wisconsin; Jurisdiction -- Criminal actions arising in Indian Country (Wisconsin); Jurisdiction -- Wisconsin; Reservation Indians; Equality before the law - United States.

*Synopsis: State petitioned for involuntary commitment of convicted sex offender as a sexually violent person (SVP). Following jury trial, the Circuit Court, Vilas County, James B. Mohr, J., entered commitment order. Offender appealed. The Court of Appeals, 258 Wis.2d 548, 2002 WI App 264, 654 N.W.2d 81, affirmed. Offender filed petition for review.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, William A. Bablitch, J., held that: (1) circuit court had jurisdiction, pursuant to federal statute, over SVP commitment proceedings involving Native American residing on reservation at time of underlying sexual offense committed on that reservation; (2) there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find that offender was a "sexually violent person;" and (3) in light of rational basis for treating confidentiality of SVP proceedings differently than involuntary commitment proceedings for mental illness, drug dependency, or developmental disability, offender was not denied equal protection of the law. Affirmed.

State v. Spotted Eagle
2003 WL 21437243, Docket No. 02-452
Supreme Court of Montana, June 23, 2003

Subjects: Drunk driving; Montana; Judgments, Criminal; Tribal courts -- Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana.

*Synopsis: Following a guilty plea after denial of motion to dismiss, defendant was convicted in the District Court, Ninth Judicial District, Pondera County, Marc G. Buyske, J., of felony operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Defendant appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, James C. Nelson, J., held that: (1) defendant's uncounselled tribal convictions for DUI were valid at inception, and (2) tribal convictions could be used to enhance state DUI charge to felony.

*Related News Stories: Mont. Court Accepts Tribal Court Convictions (Indianz.com) 6/25

State v. Any and All Parties
2003 WL 21439038 No. M2002-01137-COA-R3-CV
Court of Appeals of Tennessee, June 23, 2003

Subjects: Burial sites -- Davidson County (Tenn.); Exhumation; Tennessee; Roads -- Design and construction; Equality before the law - United States; Due process of law -- United States; Termination of Use of Land as Cemetary Act.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This is a case involving the proposed disinterment of Indian burial grounds. The Appellants urge this Court to consider numerous issues. Having determined that the only issue properly before this Court is the propriety of the trial court's denial of Appellants' motion to intervene, we affirm the trial court's denial of intervention.

*Holding: The court affirms the trial court's denial of Appellants' motion to intervene. The court affirms the trial court's decision to allow the State, as Appellee, to voluntarily dismiss its case.

In Re Daniel M.
2003 WL 21419605, Docket No. DO41470
Court of Appeal, Fourth District, California, June 20, 2003

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- California; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901); Paternity; Acknowledgment of children.

*Synopsis: Alleged father appealed order of the Superior Court, San Diego County, No. J514291, Cynthia Bashant, J., terminating his parental rights.

*Holding: The Court of Appeal, McConnell, J., held that alleged father, who did not acknowledge or establish his paternity, lacked standing to claim that juvenile court committed reversible error by not complying with notice requirements of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Dismissed. SSta

In Re A. B.
2003 ND 98, Docket No. 20020309
Supreme Court of North Dakota, June 17, 2003

Subjects: Jurisdiction -- Deference to tribal courts; Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- North Dakota; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901); Equality before the law - United States; Due process of law -- United States.

*Synopsis: County social services agency appealed from order of the Juvenile Court, Cass County, East Central Judicial District, Cynthia Rothe-Seeger, J., granting motion by tribe under Indian Child Welfare Act to transfer jurisdiction of parental termination proceeding from state juvenile court to tribal court.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, VandeWalle, C.J., held that: (1) juvenile court's failure to review transcript before reversing referee's order was harmless error; (2) motion to transfer to tribal court was not untimely; (3) tribal court was not forum non conveniens; and (4) transfer to tribal court did not violate child's rights to substantive due process and equal protection. Affirmed.

Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce Inc., et al v. Pataki
2003 WL 21357342 No. 42
Court of Appeals of New York, June 12, 2003

Subjects: Saratoga County (N.Y.) Chamber of Commerce; Intergovernmental agreements; Governors -- New York -- Rights and responsibilities; Indian gaming -- New York; Gambling on Indian reservations -- New York; Separation of powers -- New York; New York. Constitution; St. Regis Band of Mohawk Indians of New York.

*Synopsis: Legislators, organizations, and individuals opposed to casino gambling brought action challenging gaming compact between state and Native American tribe, and amendment to such compact. The Supreme Court, Albany County, Teresi, J., declared compact null and void, and governor appealed. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 293 A.D.2d 20, 740 N.Y.S.2d 733, affirmed. Appeal was taken.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Rosenblatt, J., held that: (1) challenge to compact amendment was moot; (2) citizen-taxpayers had standing to challenge compact; (3) tribe was not indispensable party; and (4) governor violated separation of powers doctrine by signing compact without legislative authorization or approval. Affirmed as modified. Smith, J., concurred in part and dissented in part with separate opinion. Read, J., filed dissenting opinion in which Wesley and Graffeo, JJ., concurred.

Tempest Recovery Services v. Belone
74 P.3d 67, Docket Nos. 27,749
Supreme Court of New Mexico, June 10, 2003

Subjects: Repossession -- New Mexico; Motor vehicles; Indian allotments -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah -- Members; Off-reservation Indians -- New Mexico; Indian Country (U.S.) -- Defined; Jurisdiction -- Civil actions arising in Indian Country (U.S.); Jurisdiction -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah.

*Synopsis: Faction of state-recognized Indian tribe brought common-law trespass action against resident of tribal reservation in connection with removal of timber from reservation. Resident moved to dismiss for lack of standing, and another faction of same tribe, of which resident was a member, moved to intervene. The Superior Court, Judicial District of Litchfield, Cremins, J., denied motion to intervene and granted motion to dismiss. Both parties, as well as proposed intervenor, appealed.

*Holding: Transferring appeals, the Supreme Court, Sullivan, C.J., held that: (1) plaintiff faction was entitled to evidentiary hearing on issue of standing; (2) a decision by federal Bureau of Indian Affairs regarding plaintiff faction's pending petition for federal recognition as an Indian tribe was not a prerequisite to determining whether plaintiff faction had standing to bring present action; and (3) denial of other faction's motion to intervene was improper. Reversed and remanded.

Ramey v. Twin Butte School District
2003 ND 87 , Docket No. 20020342
Supreme Court of North Dakota, June 3, 2003

Subjects: Employee selection -- Indian preference in hiring; Teachers' backgrounds; Discrimination in employment; North Dakota -- Human Rights Act.

*Synopsis: Job applicant sued public school district, claiming national origin discrimination under the state human rights act for its failure to hire her as a computer specialist or as an instructional aide. The District Court, Dunn County, Southwest Judicial District, Zane Anderson, J., entered summary judgment for the school district. Applicant appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Kapsner, J., held that the applicant failed to establish that she was qualified for positions of computer specialist or instructional aide and, thus, failed to establish a prima facie case of national origin discrimination. Affirmed.

State v. Manypenny
2003 WL 21266612, Docket No. CX-02-855.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota, June 3, 2003

Subjects: Jurisdiction -- White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa; Jurisdiction -- Criminal actions arising in Indian Country (U.S.); Intergovernmental agreements; Minnesota; Law enforcement; United States.Constitution; Minnesota. Constitution.

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the District Court, Becker County, William Walker, J., of fourth-degree assault of a tribal peace officer on tribal land, obstructing legal process, and disorderly conduct. She appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, G. Barry Anderson, J., held that: (1) as a matter of first impression, State was not required to formally retrocede jurisdiction to enter cooperative agreements with tribal authorities to provide law-enforcement services on tribal reservations, and (2) defendant failed to sustain her burden of demonstrating that State's cooperative agreement with tribal police violated state or federal constitution.

In re Welfare of the child of Wilson
2003 WL 21266612, Docket No. C6-02-1940.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota, June 3, 2003

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Custody of children; Indian children; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901); Hennepin Country Children, Family and Adult Services Department (Hennepin County, Minn.).

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) In this termination of parental rights proceeding involving the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), appellant-mother Roberta Wilson argues that the failure of respondent Hennepin County Children, Family and Adult Services Department to transfer legal custody of her child to a tribe member shows that the county failed to make the "active efforts" to avoid the breakup of the family that are required by ICWA. Mother also argues that the termination of her parental rights is defective because the department failed to follow ICWA's adoptive-placement preferences.

*Holding: The court affirms

May

Bonnette v. Tunica- Biloxi Indians
2003 ND 98, Docket No. 02-919
Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit, May 29, 2003

Subjects: Casinos -- Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana; Paragon Casino Resort; Molds (Fungi); Toxins; Sovereign immunity -- Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana; New Horizon Kids Quest, IV; Child care.

*Synopsis:Employees of child care facility within tribe's casino resort, employees of casino, and parents of children at facility (collectively "plaintiffs") brought personal injury action against tribe, and various entities involved in construction of resort, arising from alleged injuries resulting from exposure to toxic mold. The Twelfth Judicial District Court, Parish of Avoyelles, No.2002-2905, William Bennett, J., granted motion to consolidate, granted tribe's exception to subject matter jurisdiction, and granted remaining defendants' exceptions of failure to join an indispensible party. Plaintiffs appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeal, Michael G. Sullivan, J., held that: (1) tribe did not waive sovereign immunity to suit by a third party in state court; (2) remaining defendants were joint and divisible obligors in suit; (3) tribe was an indispensible party, and thus, dismissal against remaining defendants was not error; and (4) plaintiffs failed to demonstrate how consolidation would have prejudiced their rights or prevented a fair trial.
Affirmed.
Thibodeaux, J., concurred in parted, dissented in part, and assigned reasons.

Dairyland Greyhound Park, Inc. v. Doyle
2003 WL 21253354, Docket No. No. 03-0421.
Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, June 2, 2003

Subjects: Dairyland Greyhound Park (Wis.); Intergovernmental agreements; Governors -- Wisconsin -- Rights and responsibilities; Indian gaming -- Wisconsin; Indian gaming -- Class III; Gambling on Indian reservations -- Wisconsin; United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; Lotteries -- Wisconsin; Greyhound racing -- Betting.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Pursuant to Wis. Stat. Rule 809.61 (2001-02), this court certifies the appeal in this case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for its review and determination on a challenge to the Governor's authority to extend eleven Indian gaming compacts. In 1988, the Indian Gaming Regulation Act, 25 U.S.C. §§ 2701 et seq. (IGRA), authorized "Class III" gaming activities on Indian lands, but only in states permitting Class III gaming "for any purpose by any person, organization, or entity." [FN1] 25 U.S.C. § 2710(d)(1). In 1991, the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin held that by permitting a State-run lottery and legal dog track betting, both Class III activities, Wisconsin law did, in fact, permit other Class III activities for IGRA purposes. Lac du Flambeau Band v. Wisconsin, 770 F.Supp. 480, 486-87 (W.D.Wis.1991). Pursuant to the legislative authorization provided by Wis. Stat. § 14.035 (1989-90), Governor Tommy Thompson negotiated gaming compacts in 1991 and 1992 with eleven Indian tribes, allowing them to open and operate casinos in Wisconsin offering certain Class III gaming activities.

*Holding: coming soon

Related News Stories: Supreme Court Divided Whether Ruling Bans Extensions of Compacts (Green Bay Press Gazette) 03/31

State v. Velky
2003 WL 21054788, Docket No. 16863.
Supreme Court of Connecticut, May 20, 2003

Subjects: Sovereign immunity -- Indian Country (U.S.); Criminal jurisdiction -- Connecticut.

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the Superior Court, Judicial District of Litchfield, Gill, J., of criminal mischief in the third degree and breach of the peace. Defendant appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Sullivan, C.J., held that: (1) prosecution of defendant, an Indian tribe member, did not constitute an improper infringement upon or interference with tribal sovereignty; (2) doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity did not bar state's prosecution of defendant; (3) evidence of tribal leadership dispute and defendant's alleged duties as tribal official was not admissible to support defense of justification; but (4) such evidence was relevant to defendant's state of mind, and thus exclusion of evidence was improper and harmful. Reversed and remanded.

Malabed v. North Slope Borough
2003 WL 21129921, Docket No. S-9808.
Supreme Court of Alaska, May 16, 2003

Subjects: Sovereignty -- Indian Country (U.S.); Jurisdiction -- Indian Country (U.S.); Criminal jurisdiction; Alaska.

*Synopsis: Former borough employees brought action challenging legality of borough's Native American employment ordinance. The United States District Court for the District of Alaska, 42 F.Supp.2d 927, Sedwick, J., entered summary judgment in favor of employees. Borough appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit certified question to the Supreme Court.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Bryner, J., held that borough's hiring preference favoring Native Americans violated state constitution's equal protection clause. Question answered. Matthews, J., concurred and filed opinion.

Craig v. State
2003 WL 21117676, Docket No. S-10622.
Supreme Court of Alaska, May 14, 2003

Subjects: Custody of children; Parent and child (Law) -- United States; Alaska; United States. Indian Civil Rights Act (25 USC 70 et seq.).

*Synopsis: Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Family and Youth Services, petitioned to terminate father's parental rights to his four children in proceeding governed by both state law and Indian Child Welfare Act.

*Holding: The Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District, Bethel, Dale O. Curda, J., terminated father's parental rights. Father appealed. The Supreme Court held that: (1) testimony of state's experts was sufficiently case-specific; (2) evidence supported finding beyond a reasonable doubt under ICWA that continued custody of children by father would likely result in serious emotional and physical harm; and (3) failure to defer decision to see if father could maintain sobriety long enough to establish successful rehabilitation was not error. Affirmed.

In Re Ricardo L., Jr.
2003 WL 21026867, Docket No. F041769
Court of Appeals, 5th District, California, May 8, 2003

Subjects: Custody of children; Indian children -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- California; Child abuse; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

*Synopsis: Father appealed from dispositional order of the Superior Court, Kings County, No. 00J0040, John G. O'Rourke, J., declaring his son a dependent and denying him reunification services.
Reversed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeal, Gomes, J., held that insufficient evidence supported trial court's finding of jurisdiction of child in dependency proceeding under statutory section allowing for such jurisdiction based on finding that child's sibling had been abused or neglected and that child was in substantial risk of being abused or neglected.

Roosevelt City v. David Slim
2003 WL 21297349, Docket No. 20020768-CA
Court of Appeals of Utah, May 8, 2003

Subjects: Traffic violations -- Utah; Jurisdiction -- Roosevelt (Utah); Ute Mountain Tribe of the Ute Mountain Reservation, Colorado, New Mexico & Utah -- Members.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Defendant David Slim appeals his conviction for driving with a defective muffler, a violation of Utah Code Ann. § 41-6-147 (1998). Slim argues that the City of Roosevelt (the City) did not prove, and in fact did not have, jurisdiction over him because he is an enrolled tribal member within the boundaries of a tribal reservation . [FN1] However, " '[i]t is well established that a reviewing court will not address arguments that are not adequately briefed.' "

*Holding: Because Slim's appeal is a first appeal of right taken from a criminal conviction, it is clearly not subject to damages under rule 33. Thus, the City's request for damages is denied.

Settco, LLC v. New York State Urban Development Corporation
759 N.Y.S.2d 833, Docket No.
Supreme Court, Appellate Divison, Fourth Department, New York, May 2, 2003

Subjects: Casinos -- Design and construction; Convention facilities; Conveyancing; Environmental impact analysis; New York -- State Environmental Quality Review Act.

*Synopsis: Property owner sought review of state urban development corporation's determination and findings that public use, benefit or purpose would be served by proposed acquisition of his property for site of new convention and conference facility.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that: (1) conveyance of title to former convention site for redevelopment as Indian casino was exempted from environmental review under State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) as a Type II action; (2) under SEQRA, corporation properly considered separately the environmental impacts of proposed acquisition of owner's property and relocation of old convention center activities for redevelopment as Indian casino; (3) environmental review of proposed acquisition complied with requirements of SEQRA; and (4) corporation properly determined that public use, benefit or purpose would be served by proposed acquisition.

April

In the Interest of D.M.
2003 WL 1994050, Nos. 22563, 22564, 22565.
Supreme Court of South Dakota, April 30, 2003

Subjects: Custody of children; Indian children; Child welfare; Parent and child (Law). United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901). Jurisdiction -- Indian Country (U.S.); Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota; Indian courts; Jurisdiction -- South Dakota; South Dakota. Circuit Court (7th Judicial Circuit); Circuit courts -- South Dakota.

*Synopsis: Termination of parental rights proceedings were initiated for Native American children. Native American tribe moved to intervene and to transfer jurisdiction to tribal court. The Circuit Court, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Fall River County, Thomas L. Trimble J., denied transfer and terminated parental rights. Parents appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court held that: (1) denying, for good cause, tribe's motion to transfer jurisdiction of proceeding was not an abuse of discretion; (2) State's expert witness was qualified expert under Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA); (3) State engaged in active efforts designed to prevent break-up of family, as required by ICWA; (4) evidence supported finding that parents' continued custody of children was likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage beyond a reasonable doubt; and (5) termination of parental rights was in best interests of children. Affirmed.

In the matter of T.L. and L.N.
71 P. 3d 43, Docket No. 970308
Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division 2, April 29, 2003

Subjects: Parent and child (Law); Trials (Custody of children) -- Oklahoma; United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901); United States. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act.

*Synopsis: State petitioned to terminate Native American mother's parental rights. The District Court, Muskogee County, Thomas H. Alford, J., terminated mother's parental rights, and she appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Civil Appeals, Joe C. Taylor, P.J., held that: (1) evidence was sufficient to show beyond reasonable doubt that continued custody of children with mother was likely to result in serious harm to children; (2) evidence regarding conditions that warranted placement of children in protective custody was relevant to show mother had failed to improve conditions; and (3) order terminating mother's parental rights was required to contain recitation of findings in compliance with Indian Child Welfare Act, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, and legal names and birth dates of children.

Koke v. Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
(briefs)
2003 WL 1983746, No. 01-888.
Montana Supreme Court, April 29, 2003

Subjects: Contested elections -- Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana; Jurisdiction -- Montana; Montana. District Court (8th Judicial District); Sovereign immunity -- Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana -- Tribal officials and employees; Sovereignty; Tribes -- Defined; Common law.

*Synopsis: Candidates for positions in group that allegedly was a tribe filed action against incumbent candidates, seeking tort damages and injunctive relief concerning election that candidates claim that they won. The District Court, Eighth Judicial District, Cascade County, Kenneth R. Neill, J., dismissed action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Candidates appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Jim Regnier, J., held that: (1) group was a "tribe " under common law; (2) tribe's incorporation of cultural corporation did not preclude recognition of tribal sovereignty; (3) doctrine of sovereign immunity barred action against tribal officials in their individual capacities; and (4) trial court was not required to give formal notice of conversion that court would treat motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment. Affirmed.

Cheree L., v. Arizona Department of Economic Security
2003 WL 1908386, Docket No. 2 CA-JV 2002-0069.
Court Of Appeals of Arizona, Div. 2, April 22, 2003.

Subjects: Custody of children; Indian children; Child welfare; Adoption -- Law and legislation; Parent and child (Law). United States. Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 USC 1901). Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona.

*Synopsis: Mother and Indian nation challenged decision of Superior Court, Pima County, No. 14514800, Suzanna S. Cuneo, Judge Pro Tempore, refusing to set aside order terminating mother's parental rights to Indian child.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Espinosa, C.J., held that: (1) mother's conditional voluntary relinquishment of parental rights to child was not a general consent to termination but a voluntary consent to adoption, such that mother was permitted under Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to withdraw consent at any time prior to entry of final decree of adoption, and (2) res judicata would not prevent mother from challenging termination of her parental rights. Reversed and remanded.

Bradley v. Crow Tribe of Indians
2003 WL 1901202, Docket No. 02-474
Montana Supreme Court, April 15, 2003

Subjects: Breach of contract -- Crow Tribe of Montana; Jurisdiction -- Montana; Montana. Supreme Court; Sovereign immunity -- Crow Tribe of Montana; Waiver.

*Synopsis: Tribe member sued Indian tribe in state court for breach of contract. The District Court of the Thirteenth Judicial District, County of Yellowstone, Susan P. Watters, Judge Presiding, granted tribe's motion to dismiss the action for lack of jurisdiction, and tribe member appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Terry N. Trieweiler, J., held that tribe member had established that tribe had unequivocally waived sovereign immunity.

Cruse v. State
2003 WL 1826666, Docket No. F-2001-1046.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma, April 9, 2003

Subjects: Murder; Jurisdiction; Criminal courts; Jurisdiction -- Criminal actions arising in Indian Country (U.S.); Jurors; Race discrimination. District courts -- Oklahoma; Jurisdiction -- Oklahoma.

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in a jury trial in the District Court, John H. Scaggs, J., of first-degree malice aforethought murder, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment with suspended prohibition of parole. Defendant appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Criminal Appeals, Lile, Vice Presiding Judge, held that: (1) trial court's failure to instruct jury, sua sponte, on second-degree murder was not plain error; (2) there existed no inference of discriminatory purpose in exclusion of Native American jurors; (3) trial court's acknowledgment of Native American jurors during voir dire was not error; (4) defendant failed to demonstrate ineffective assistance of counsel; (5) trial court had jurisdiction notwithstanding "dependent Indian community" in which murder occurred; and (6) trial court lacked authority to suspend prohibition of parole portion of defendant's life sentence.

Havasu Palms, Inc., v. Massimino
2003 WL 1735548, Docket No. E031987. (Super. Ct. No. NCV 161).
Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 2, California, April 2, 2003

Subjects: Sovereign immunity -- Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation, California; Jurisdiction -- California; Jurisdiction -- Indian Country (U.S.); Business. Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation, California.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiffs appeal from the trial court's ruling granting a combined motion to quash, demurrer, and motion to dismiss brought by a cross-defendant, the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe (Tribe). We hold the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the entire action and properly dismissed the case. This appeal affords another caveat to those who risk doing business with Indian tribes who have sovereign immunity.

*Holding: We hold the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the entire action and properly dismissed the case. This appeal affords another caveat to those who risk doing business with Indian tribes who have sovereign immunity.

Prairie Island Indian Community v. Minnesota Dept. of Public Safety
2003 WL 1701899, Docket Nos. C9-02-1012, C0-02-1013, C7-02-1025, C2-02-1028
Court of Appeals of Minnesota, April 1, 2003

Subjects: Auditors' reports; Disclosure in accounting; Casinos -- Prairie Island Indian Community of Minnesota Mdewakanton Sioux Indians of the Prairie Island; Indian gaming; Trade secrets; Minnesota. Government Data Practices Act.

*Synopsis: Indian tribes sued state to prevent disclosure of financial audit data from tribal casinos submitted to state under state-tribal gaming compacts. The District Court, Ramsey County, Louise Bjorkman, J., entered summary judgment preventing disclosure on grounds data was nonpublic trade-secret information under state law. State and tribes appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Minge, J., held that: (1) MGDPA did not incorporate federal law making financial records nonpublic; (2) financial audit data were not trade secrets; and (3) state did not act in bad faith in disclosing data. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

 

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