United States v. Lara: Affirmation of Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction over Nonmember Indians

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On April 19, 2004, the United States Supreme Court decided United States v Lara, a landmark case in federal American-Indian law. Lara upheld the authority of American-Indian tribes to prosecute nonmember American Indians and held that such prosecutions do not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause because an American-Indian tribe is ‘‘acting in its capacity of a separate sovereign.’’ All Michigan tribes have significant numbers of nonmember American Indians—members of other American-Indian tribes and Canadian Indians—living in their Indian Country. The Lara decision clarifies an important area of law for the Michigan tribes—whether American-Indian tribes have inherent authority to prosecute nonmember American Indians.


Work published when author not on Michigan Law faculty.