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Wash. St. Supremes Further Tangle the PL 280 Web in State v. Shale

Posted March 19, 2015 by Galanda Broadman, PLLC

By Anthony Broadman

The Washington State Supreme Court wove new threads into the already tangled web of Washington partial P.L. 280 jurisprudence today.

The practical result of Washington v. Shale was predictable: Washington has criminal jurisdiction over an Indian who commits a crime on the reservation trust land of a Tribe other than his own. The Court observed that such jurisdiction was probably concurrent with the Tribe’s jurisdiction (under Lara).

After a lengthy exposition of Washington’s version of P.L. 280, retrocession, and criminal jurisdiction over tribal members, the Court held that on the Quinault reservation, the federal government has accepted retrocession of state jurisdiction over members of the Quinault Indian Nation. Because the defendant was not Quinault, jurisdiction over him had not been retroceded.  So the state possessed jurisdiction over him under P.L. 280.

But at least two aspects of the decision are concerning.

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