Robert Crawford was pulled over by Flathead Tribal Police Officer Casey Couture on the Flathead Reservation. Crawford was allowed to leave but was then informed that he was in violation of his parole because he did not have permission to be traveling in that area. Crawford was arrested upon a warrant issued for parole violations and then charged with criminal possession of dangerous drugs. A jury found him guilty. Thereafter, Crawford filed this action in state court against Couture, the Flathead Tribal Police Department, and the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribal Government alleging numerous claims due to inappropriate conduct by Couture. The district court dismissed Crawford’s claims based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the sovereign immunity of the Tribe. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly dismissed Crawford’s claims based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction and sovereign immunity. View "Crawford v. Couture" on Justia Law
Appellants appealed the order of the district court denying their motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction over the estate of their father, the decedent. At issue was whether the district court erred when it assumed subject matter jurisdiction over the probate of the estate when the decedent was an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe and all of his estate property was located within the exterior boundaries of the Blackfeet Reservation at the time of his death. The court overruled State ex rel. Iron Bear v. District Court and held that the Blackfeet Tribal Court had exclusive jurisdiction over the probate of the decedent's estate and assumption of subject matter jurisdiction by the district court was impermissible because Montana and the Blackfeet Tribe had not taken the necessary steps for Montana to assume civil jurisdiction over the Blackfeet Reservation.