State v. Pink, No. 36485-9-II.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Washington
Writing for the CourtQuinn-Brintnall
Decision Date03 June 2008
PartiesSTATE of Washington, Appellant, v. William Peter PINK, a/k/a William Peter Pink Bailey, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 36485-9-II.
185 P.3d 634
144 Wn. App. 945
STATE of Washington, Appellant,
v.
William Peter PINK, a/k/a William Peter Pink Bailey, Respondent.
No. 36485-9-II.
Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2.
June 3, 2008.

[185 P.3d 635]

Gerald R. Fuller, Grays Harbor Co. Pros. Ofc., Montesano, WA, for Appellant.

Peter B. Tiller, The Tiller Law Firm, Centralia, WA, for Respondent.

Rickie Wayne Armstrong, Quinault Indian Nation, Taholah, WA, Amicus Curiae on behalf of Quinault Indian Reservation.

QUINN-BRINTNALL, J.


¶ 1 In December 2006, Grays Harbor County sheriff deputies arrested William Peter Pink (a/k/a William Peter Pink Bailey) on an outstanding warrant. At the time of his arrest, Pink was a passenger in a car stopped for a traffic violation on a public road within the boundaries of the Quinault Indian Reservation. The State charged Pink with unlawful possession of a firearm discovered during a search of the vehicle incident to the arrest.

¶ 2 Pink is an enrolled member of the Quinault Tribe, and he filed a motion to dismiss the unlawful firearm charge claiming that the Grays Harbor County court lacked jurisdiction to prosecute him for this offense which occurred wholly within the Quinault Reservation. The trial court granted Pink's motion; the State appeals.

¶ 3 We hold that the Quinault Tribe's grant of a highway easement to the State did not terminate the Quinault Tribe's interest in the land over which the highway runs and that the State did not have jurisdiction to prosecute Pink for unlawfully possessing a firearm on the road running through the tribal land. Accordingly, we affirm.

FACTS

¶ 4 On December 10, 2006, Grays Harbor County sheriff deputies stopped a vehicle bearing Quinault Tribe license plates traveling on Washington State Highway Route (SR) 109, just south of the Moclips highway. That portion of SR 109 lies within the geographical borders of the Quinault Indian Reservation. The Treaty of Olympia created the Quinault Indian Reservation, which was ratified by Congress in 1859. Quinault Tribe of Indians v. Gallagher, 368 F.2d 648, 651 (9th Cir.1966), cert. denied, 387 U.S. 907, 87 S.Ct. 1684, 18 L.Ed.2d 626 (1967). This reservation is located on the Pacific coast near Grays Harbor in Western Washington; the boundaries were confirmed on November 4, 1873. Quinault Tribe, 368 F.2d at 651.

¶ 5 Pink, an enrolled member of the Quinault Tribe, was a passenger in a vehicle that had been stopped for having defective equipment: a defective muffler and cracked windshield. During the stop, deputies asked Pink to identify himself and used the information to run a warrants check. After discovering an outstanding warrant, the deputies arrested Pink. The search incident to his arrest revealed a .270 caliber rifle cartridge in Pink's pocket and a .270 caliber rifle in the vehicle. Pink acknowledged that the rifle belonged to him and stated that he was a tribal member with hunting rights. The deputies did not contact the Quinault Tribe's law enforcement agency to request assistance or seek the Quinault Tribe's approval to exercise general criminal jurisdiction over Pink.

¶ 6 Based on these events, the State charged Pink with second degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Pink, a convicted felon,1 is prohibited from knowingly possessing

185 P.3d 636

or owning firearms. RCW 9.41.040.2 Pink moved for dismissal of the charges, arguing a lack of State criminal jurisdiction. For purposes of the pretrial motion, the parties presented stipulated facts.3 The trial court granted the motion.

¶ 7 Following the State's appeal, the Quinault Tribe filed a motion requesting permission to intervene4 or, in the alternative, file an amicus brief. We granted the Quinault Tribe's alternative request and accepted its amicus brief. In its brief, the Quinault Tribe asserts that by charging Pink with unlawfully possessing the firearm on tribal land, the State intruded on its criminal jurisdiction and ignored its sovereignty and authority to govern its own people and property.

¶ 8 In this case, we address whether the State has jurisdiction to prosecute an enrolled tribal member for a violation of Washington State law alleged to have been committed while the tribal member was a passenger on SR 109 within the Quinault Indian Reservation. We hold that, because the alleged violation is unrelated to operating a motor vehicle, the State lacks jurisdiction.

ANALYSIS

State's Criminal Jurisdiction

¶ 9 Generally, the superior court has original jurisdiction in all criminal felony cases and in all proceedings in which jurisdiction has not been vested exclusively in some other court. Wash. Const., art. IV, § 6. The federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction to try an enrolled Native American for the alleged commission, in "Indian country," of most major crimes. See White v. Schneckloth, 56 Wash.2d 173, 174, 351 P.2d 919 (1960) (federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction to try tribal members of a crime enumerated in the Ten Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1153).

¶ 10 The State argues that, because the crime was committed while Pink was on SR 109, it had jurisdiction to prosecute him for it even though he is an enrolled member of the Quinault Tribe. We disagree.

¶ 11 We begin with the proposition that the State cannot acquire jurisdiction either by estoppel or by stipulation. State v. Boyd, 109 Wash.App. 244, 249, 34 P.3d 912 (2001), review denied, 146 Wash.2d 1012, 51 P.3d 86 (2002).

¶ 12 When the situs of the crime is undisputed, we decide the issue of territorial jurisdiction as a question of law. State v. Squally, 132 Wash.2d 333, 340, 937 P.2d 1069 (1997). The parties stipulated that Pink was charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm on SR 109 within the Quinault Reservation boundaries: thus, the trial court's determination of whether it had personal jurisdiction to hear the charges against Pink is a question of law that we review de novo. Squally, 132 Wash.2d at 340-41, 937 P.2d 1069 (citing Lewis v. Bours, 119 Wash.2d 667, 669, 835 P.2d 221 (1992); Joy v. Kaiser Aluminum & Chem. Corp., 62 Wash.App. 909, 911, 816 P.2d 90 (1991)).

¶ 13 Here, the parties do not dispute the locus of the alleged criminal acts; instead, they disagree on whether the State possesses general criminal jurisdiction over the lands attached to SR 109 to which the Quinault Tribe granted the State an easement.

A. Public Law 280 and RCW 37.12.010

¶ 14 In 1953, Congress enacted federal legislation authorizing states to impose concurrent state jurisdiction in Indian country with or without tribal consent. Public Law 280, Pub.L. No. 85-280, 67 Stat. 588 (1953). The Washington Legislature, however, elected to

185 P.3d 637

extend civil and criminal jurisdiction only to those reservations requesting that it do so. Ch. 37.12 RCW; Washington v. Confederated Bands & Tribes of Yakima Indian Nation, 439 U.S. 463, 471-72, 99 S.Ct. 740, 58 L.Ed.2d 740 (1979); see Cross v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 126 Wash.2d 43, 46-49, 891 P.2d 26 (1995) (discussing the history of Public Law 280 (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. § 1162; 25 U.S.C. §§ 1321-1326; 28 U.S.C. § 1360)).

¶ 15 But in 1963, the Washington Legislature extended its jurisdiction, without tribal consent, to include state criminal and civil jurisdiction over all non-Indians in Indian country, Indians on fee-patented land on reservations, and Indians on tribally-owned or individually allotted lands held in trust by the federal government. RCW 37.12.010; Quinault Tribe, 368 F.2d at 651-52; State v. Sohappy, 110 Wash.2d 907, 909, 757 P.2d 509 (1988). The legislature did not assert general jurisdiction but set forth eight categories of cases over which it would assert jurisdiction. RCW 37.12.010(1)-(8). These excepted categories include: (1) compulsory school attendance; (2) public assistance; (3) domestic relations; (4) mental illness; (5) juvenile delinquency; (6) adoption proceedings; (7) dependent children; and (8) operation of motor vehicles on the public streets, alleys, roads, and highways. RCW 37.12.010(1)-(8).5

¶ 16 In 1968, Congress narrowed the states' powers under Public Law 280 by enacting the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, 25 U.S.C. § 1321. Under the act, a state may not assume criminal jurisdiction without the consent of the tribe. This jurisdictional limitation was not retroactive; jurisdiction a state assumed before the 1968 act was not displaced. State v. Hoffman, 116 Wash.2d 51, 68-69, 804 P.2d 577 (1991).

¶ 17 On May 20, 1957, the Quinault Tribe granted the State a right-of-way easement across the portion of SR 109 within the reservation boundaries. 25 U.S.C. §§ 323-328. A map documenting the easement was certified on February 8, 1959.

¶ 18 In addition, on April 22, 1958, the Quinault Indian Tribal Council enacted a resolution requesting that the State of Washington extend its criminal and civil jurisdiction to include the Quinault Tribe and Reservation. Quinault Tribe, 368 F.2d at 652. On May 15, 1958, the State governor issued a proclamation extending State jurisdiction to the reservation effective July 14, 1958. RCW 37.12.020; Quinault Tribe, 368 F.2d at 652.

¶ 19 But in 1965, the Quinault Tribe petitioned for retrocession of State jurisdiction and, in 1969, the United States accepted the Quinault Tribe's request. See Comenout v. Burdman, 84 Wash.2d 192, 197-98, 525 P.2d 217 (1974) (detailing the history of State jurisdiction over the Quinault Tribe; jurisdiction exercised by the State over the Quinault Tribe under RCW 37.12.010-.060 was...

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8 practice notes
  • State v. Shale, No. 90906–7.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 19, 2015
    ...jurisdiction over members of the Quinault Tribe while on tribal lands within the reservation.”State v. Pink, 144 Wash.App. 945, 952, 185 P.3d 634 (2008) (citing Cooper, 130 Wash.2d at 774, 928 P.2d 406 ). Pink was a member of the Quinault Indian Nation, and the court had no occasion to cons......
  • State v. Eriksen, No. 80653-5.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • September 17, 2009
    ...the State has concurrent jurisdiction. State v. Cooper, 130 Wash.2d 770, 774, 928 P.2d 406 (1996); State v. Pink, 144 Wash.App. 945, 952, 185 P.3d 634 (2008). The Lummi Nation therefore enforces criminal law in the majority of cases arising from the tribe 20. Effective July 1, 2008, tribal ......
  • State Of Wash. v. Abrahamson, No. 62699-0-I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • September 7, 2010
    ...areas where the State has full jurisdiction over Indians on Indian lands. ¶ 27 As in Cooper, in State v. Pink, 144 Wash.App. 945, 947-48, 185 P.3d 634 (2008), we held that the State did not have jurisdiction over an Indian on an Indian reservation for the unlawful possession of a firearm. B......
  • State v. DePoe, 44886-6-II
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • June 9, 2015
    ...(1988). The legislature limited the state's assumption of nonconsensual jurisdiction to enumerated categories of cases. State v. Pink, 144 Wn.App. 945, 950-51, 185 P.3d 634 (2008). In relevant part, the statute imposing jurisdiction provides that [t]he state of Washington hereby obligates a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • State v. Shale, No. 90906–7.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 19, 2015
    ...jurisdiction over members of the Quinault Tribe while on tribal lands within the reservation.”State v. Pink, 144 Wash.App. 945, 952, 185 P.3d 634 (2008) (citing Cooper, 130 Wash.2d at 774, 928 P.2d 406 ). Pink was a member of the Quinault Indian Nation, and the court had no occasion to cons......
  • State v. Eriksen, No. 80653-5.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • September 17, 2009
    ...the State has concurrent jurisdiction. State v. Cooper, 130 Wash.2d 770, 774, 928 P.2d 406 (1996); State v. Pink, 144 Wash.App. 945, 952, 185 P.3d 634 (2008). The Lummi Nation therefore enforces criminal law in the majority of cases arising from the tribe 20. Effective July 1, 2008, tribal ......
  • State Of Wash. v. Abrahamson, No. 62699-0-I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • September 7, 2010
    ...areas where the State has full jurisdiction over Indians on Indian lands. ¶ 27 As in Cooper, in State v. Pink, 144 Wash.App. 945, 947-48, 185 P.3d 634 (2008), we held that the State did not have jurisdiction over an Indian on an Indian reservation for the unlawful possession of a firearm. B......
  • State v. DePoe, 44886-6-II
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • June 9, 2015
    ...(1988). The legislature limited the state's assumption of nonconsensual jurisdiction to enumerated categories of cases. State v. Pink, 144 Wn.App. 945, 950-51, 185 P.3d 634 (2008). In relevant part, the statute imposing jurisdiction provides that [t]he state of Washington hereby obligates a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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