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Court Says Indian Tribe May Not Prosecute Members of Other Tribes

May 29, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) _ An Indian tribe may not prosecute members of other tribes for crimes on its reservation, the Supreme Court ruled today.

The court, by a 7-2 ruling, stripped the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Arizona of the authority to prosecute a California man accused of fatally shooting a 14-year-old boy.

″Indian tribes lack jurisdiction over persons who are not tribe members,″ Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court as it extended its 1978 ruling that barred tribes from prosecuting non-Indians for on-reservation crimes.

Kennedy said Indian tribes surrendered the sovereign authority to prosecute non-Indians for crimes on reservations when the tribes accepted the federal government’s protection.

Justices William J. Brennan and Thurgood Marshall dissented. Writing for the two, Brennan said, ″I do not share such a parsimonious view of the sovereignty retained by Indian tribes.″

Albert Duro, a member of the Torres-Martinez Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians in California, was accused of the 1984 killing on the Salt River Indian Reservation near Scottsdale, Ariz.

The victim, Phillip Fernando Brown, was a member of a third tribe - the Gila River Indian Tribe.

Duro was living with his girlfriend on the reservation, and was working for PiCopa Construction Co, which the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community owns.

His lawyers said Duro is living in California and denies the tribe’s charges. They said he is a fugitive.

The case is Duro vs. Reina, 88-6546.

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