HELENA (AP) — A federal judge says the U.S. government has the jurisdiction to prosecute misdemeanor driving offenses on Indian reservations.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong said in a ruling Tuesday that the U.S. government and tribal government share jurisdiction in victimless crimes involving enrolled tribal members.
Strong's ruling dismisses a request to throw out charges against Blackfeet tribal leader and state Sen. Shannon Augare.
Augare is accused of drunken driving and fleeing a Glacier County sheriff's deputy during a May traffic stop on U.S. Highway 2 on the Blackfeet reservation.
Augare attorney Joe McKay had argued that the Blackfeet tribe has exclusive jurisdiction in the case, and federal prosecutors are infringing on tribal sovereignty.
Strong cited three other cases in which other courts have allowed federal prosecutions of victimless crimes on reservations.