Brief for Indian Law and Policy Professors as Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner in United States v. Cooley
46 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2021 Last revised: 25 Jul 2022
Date Written: June 3, 2021
Amici curiae are 25 scholars who teach, write, and/or practice in the area of federal Indian law and federal Indian policy. The amici are concerned with the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision in United States v. Cooley, 919 F.3d 1135 (9th Cir. 2019). There, the circuit court held that tribal police officers lack authority to briefly detain and search a non-Indian on a public highway running through the Crow Reservation unless it is either “apparent” or “obvious” that the non-Indian has violated state or federal law. Under that theory, the court affirmed the district court’s decision to suppress drug and firearm evidence obtained from a non-Indian defendant by a tribal law enforcement officer.
The amici urge the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit decision as the circuit court’s legal theory contradicts the custom, tradition, and policy of policing, as well as the treaties between the United States and indigenous nations. This all demonstrates that the United States has long recognized tribal authority to detain and search non-Indians.
Keywords: Tribal Law, Indian Law, Indian Policy, Criminal Law, Policing, Sovereignty, Federal Law, Amicus Brief
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