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Law
Minnesota appeals court limits state jurisdiction


The state of Minnesota can't force Indians who live on reservations to comply with the state's predatory-offender registration statute, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday.

The law requires people who have been convicted of murder, sex offenses or kidnapping to register their addresses with the state. But the court, in a unanimous ruling, said it doesn't apply to tribal members who reside in Indian Country.

The court acknowledged that Minnesota is a Public Law 280 state. But the statute at issue is a "civil/regulatory" one, not a "criminal/prohibitory" one.

"Failing to reveal an address [in itself] causes no harm, poses no threat, and jeopardizes no person or property. Registration will not prohibit or deter a further crime if the predator chooses to commit one," the judges wrote.

The case was brought by Cass County Attorney Earl Maus, who has argued against tribal jurisdiction in U.S. Supreme Court briefs. He said he might appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Get the Story:
Hole remains in offender registry (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 7/27)
pwlat

Get the Decision:
Minnesota va. Jones (July 26, 2005)