326 U.S. 496 (1946), 158, New York ex rel. Ray v. Martin

Docket Nº:No. 158
Citation:326 U.S. 496, 66 S.Ct. 307, 90 L.Ed. 261
Party Name:New York ex rel. Ray v. Martin
Case Date:January 07, 1946
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 496

326 U.S. 496 (1946)

66 S.Ct. 307, 90 L.Ed. 261

New York ex rel. Ray

v.

Martin

No. 158

United States Supreme Court

Jan. 7, 1946

Argued December 13, 1945

CERTIORARI TO THE COUNTY COURT

OF WYOMING COUNTY, NEW YORK

Syllabus

1. A state court of New York has jurisdiction to try a non-Indian for the murder of another non-Indian committed on the Allegany Reservation of the Seneca Indians within that State. United States v. McBratney, 104 U.S. 621, followed. P. 498.

2. Section 2145 of the Revised Statutes does not operate to deprive States of jurisdiction of crimes committed on Indian reservations by one non-Indian against another. P. 499.

3. Exercise of jurisdiction by a state court of New York over crimes

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involving only non-Indians and committed on the Allegany Reservation of the Seneca Indians within that State does not violate the Treaty of 1794. P. 500.

294 N.Y. 61, 60 N.E.2d 541, affirmed.

Certiorari, post, p. 685, to review the affirmance of a judgment dismissing a writ of habeas corpus. See 26 A.D. 218, 52 N.Y.S.2d 496; 181 Misc. 925, 47 N.Y.S.2d 883.

BLACK, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

In United States v. McBratney, 104 U.S. 621, this Court held that the State courts of Colorado, not the [66 S.Ct. 308] Federal courts, had jurisdiction to prosecute a murder of one non-Indian by another, committed on an Indian reservation located within that State. The holding in that case was that the Act of Congress, 18 Stat. 474, admitting Colorado into the union overruled all prior inconsistent statutes and treaties and placed it "on an equal footing with the original States . . . ," that this meant that Colorado had "criminal jurisdiction over its own citizens and other white persons throughout the whole of the territory within its limits, including the Ute Reservation," and that, consequently,

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the United States no longer had "sole and exclusive jurisdiction" over the Reservation except to the extent necessary to carry out such treaty provisions which remained in force. That case has since been followed by this Court,1 and its holding has not been modified by any act of Congress. The question this case presents is whether New York, which is one of the original States, has jurisdiction to punish a murder of one non-Indian committed by another non-Indian upon the Allegany Reservation of the Seneca Indians located within the New York.

In 1939, the petitioner was sentenced to life imprisonment in a New York State court for the murder of a man in the City of Salamanca, which is within the Allegany Reservation but has only 8 Indian families living among its 9,000 inhabitants. He later brought this habeas corpus proceeding in a county court of the State.2 He alleged that, since the Indian reservation was under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, the State courts lacked jurisdiction to try and convict him. The County Court of Wyoming County heard the case and ordered the writ dismissed. 181 Misc. 925, 47 N.Y.S.2d 883. Both the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, 268 A.D. 218, 52 N.Y.S.2d 496, and the Court of Appeals, 294 N.Y. 61, 60 N.E.2d 541, affirmed the dismissal.3 We granted certiorari because of the federal questions raised.

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We think the rule announced in the McBratney case controlling, and that the New York Court therefore properly exercised its jurisdiction. For that case and others which followed it all held that, in the absence of a limiting treaty obligation or Congressional enactment, each state had a right to exercise jurisdiction over Indian reservations within its boundaries.4 Petitioner claims that the McBratney case differs from this proceeding in several respects. First, he contends that Colorado could exercise greater powers over its Indian reservations than New York can, by virtue of the enabling act which admitted Colorado into the union, a similar enactment being lacking here since New York is one of the original states. As we have seen, the Colorado enabling act was held in the McBratney case to put Colorado "on an equal [66 S.Ct. 309] footing with the original States," and to repeal earlier legislation and treaties inconsistent with the enabling act. The fact that Colorado was put on an equal footing with the original states obviously did not give it any greater power than New York. And no greater power can be inferred from the repealing function of the enabling act, since, as we shall point out, the statutes and...

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