Duro v. Reina

LOCATION: Washington Park Marina, Michigan City, Indiana

DOCKET NO.: 88-6546
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 495 US 676 (1990)
ARGUED: Nov 29, 1989
DECIDED: May 29, 1990

John Trebon - on behalf of the Petitioner, (appointed by this Court)
Lawrence G. Wallace - as amicus curiae, supporting the Respondents
Richard B. Wilks - on behalf of the Respondents

Facts of the case


Media for Duro v. Reina

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 29, 1989 in Duro v. Reina

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear argument first this afternoon in Number 88-6546, Albert Duro v. Edward Reina.

Mr. Trebon.

John Trebon:

Thank you.

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court:

The issue in this case is whether an American citizen can be submitted to the criminal jurisdiction of an Indian tribe even though he is not a member of the tribe simply because he or she is an Indian; or, should they be treated like Mr. Oliphant and other non-members with whom they are similarly situated.

Albert Duro, the Petitioner in this case, is a California Indian.

He is a member of the Torez-Martinez band of Mission Indians.

He was raised in California on private land and is a permanent resident of the State of California.

He is not a member of, nor is he eligible for membership in the Salt River Tribe, who is the Respondent in this case.

For approximately three months in 1984, Albert Duro stayed on the Salt River reservation with his girlfriend, who is also from California.

During June of 1984, a firearm discharged and accidentally shot a 14-year-old boy that was riding a bicycle approximately two blocks away, undoubtedly an unfortunate incident.

Mr. Duro, along with Sean Lackey, was indicated in federal court for first degree murder relating to that charge.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

It resulted in a death?

John Trebon:

It did result in death, Justice O'Connor, yes.

He was indicted for first degree murder, and after the case was in federal court for several months, it was dismissed on motion of the government and dismissed without prejudice.

The government has never refiled that charge against Mr. Duro.

Two days after the case was dismissed in federal court, the federal marshals turned Mr. Duro over to the Salt River Tribe.

He was charged in the Salt River Tribe with discharge of firearms, which is a misdemeanor.

A motion to dismiss was filed by Mr. Duro in the Salt River Tribe.

That motion was denied by Judge Manuel.

We then filed a habeas corpus petition before the federal district court.

Judge Copple, who the Court may remember was the district court judge involved in the Wheeler decision and upheld by this Court, issued a writ of habeas corpus in favor of Mr. Duro.

That was appealed by the Respondent to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision with Judge Sneed dissenting, held that non-member Indians, unlike non-Indians, are subject to the criminal jurisdiction of an Indian tribe if they have significant contacts with the reservation; not if the crime involves significant contacts with the reservation but merely whether or not the person involved has significant contacts with the reservation.

Anthony M. Kennedy:

Did the Ninth Circuit adopt the context rule as part of a statutory analysis?

How did it purport to justify the context rule?

John Trebon:

It... it purported to justify it on the basis that the tribe had an interest in someone over whom they had a significant contact.

The significant context test, as far as I can see, has no direct relation to any statute.

Anthony M. Kennedy:

Did... did... did it purport to be some sort of a constitutional analysis?

John Trebon:

No, it did not.