On Friday March 6, 2015, on behalf of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, California Indian Legal Services filed a complaint in the California Eastern District Federal Court against Inyo County, its Sheriff and District Attorney.
The complaint seeks a declaration that defendants’ actions of arresting and criminally charging a Tribal Police Officer for carrying out his official duties interferes with the Tribe’s sovereign inherent authority to operate a police department and maintain peace and security on its Reservation. The Tribe also seeks to enjoin the defendants from taking such actions in the future.
This action is for declaratory and injunctive relief by the Bishop Paiute Tribe (“Tribe”), a federally recognized Indian Tribe, against Inyo County, the Inyo County’s Sheriff and District Attorney, for the arrest and prosecution of a Bishop tribal law enforcement officer for performing his duties on the Tribe’s Reservation. The Tribe seeks an order declaring that Defendants are interfering with the Tribe’s inherent sovereign authority to take action, defined by federal law, against non-Indians perpetrators on tribal lands. Federal law establishes that tribes have inherent authority over non-Indians on tribal lands to stop, restrain, detain, investigate violations of tribal, state and federal laws, and deliver or transport the non-Indian to the proper authorities. Duro v. Reina, 495 U.S. 676 (1990), Ortiz-Barraza v. United States, 512 F. 2d 1176 (9 th Cir. 1975). Defendants have arrested, and criminally charged, Daniel Johnson, a duly authorized Bishop tribal law enforcement officer, while he was executing federal prescribed police duties against a non-Indian, on the Tribe’s Federal Reservation.