A Reference Site for Law
This page is currently under construction.
Please click here for a link to the University of Montana's Jameson Law Library website containing downloadable opinions from the Crow Court of Appeals.
Note: this is not an exhaustive listing of Crow Tribal case law. Extraordinary difficulty arises when attempting to locate post-2002 decisions of the Crow Court of Appeals.
For more information, please contact the Crow Tribal Judicial Branch at (406) 638-4050.
Montana v. Crow Tribe of Indians, 523 U.S. 696 (1998); held, in a 7-2 opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that the Crow Tribe could not recover restitution for amount of unlawful taxes on Crow-owned coal paid by Westmoreland to State of Montana during period of 1976 to 1982, when Tribe did not have federally-approved tax in effect.
Montana v. United States, 450 U.S. 544 (1981); held, in a 6-3 opinion written by Justice Potter Stewart, that title to riverbed and banks of Bighorn river was effectively conveyed to United States from Tribe in 1868 treaty and passed from United States to State of Montana in trust in 1889 under equal footing doctrine and that Crow Tribe cannot regulate non-member activities on non-Indian owned fee land on Reservation unless significant contacts established or strong tribal interests at stake.
Huber v. Gale Norton, et. al., CV 02-173-BLG-RFC (D. Mont. 2004); the district court, Judge Richard Cebull presiding, ruled that because the Crow Tribe had rejected a tribal constitution under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, there was no federal court jurisdiction to review the action of the United States in approving the 2001 Crow tribal constitution.
Dorma Takes Enemy, et. al. v. Crow Tribe of Indians, CV 04-48-BLG-RFC (D. Mont. 2004); the district court, Judge Richard Cebull presiding, denied the Crow Tribe's motion to dismiss a suit on appeal from the Crow Court of Appeals concerning allegations of severance pay owed to former tribal employees. Judge Cebull ruled that sovereign immunity was no bar to the suit since the Tribe had effectively waived its immunity for purposes of judicial enforcement of the tribal personnel policy. The court also held that the 1936 Congressional Act amending Section 11 of the 1920 Crow Allotment Act conferred jurisdiction to the court through establishing a federal question arises by virtue of the Secretary of the Interior's approval of Crow tribal budgets.
Crow Tribe of Indians v. United States of America, CV 214 (D. Mont. 1963); the district court, Judge James Battin presiding, ruled that the Crow Tribe was entitled to a total of $4.5 million for land condemned by the United States for construction of the Yellowtail Dam. The federal government had already paid $2.5 million to the Crow Tribe and Congress had specifically authorized the Crow Tribe to seek further compensation through the federal courts. [Please check back for downloadable link to this opinion]
In Re Matter of Leroy Not Afraid, 2010 MT 285; the Montana Supreme Court held that an enrolled Crow tribal member elected as Big Horn County Justice of the Peace was not prohibited under Montana law from running for Crow tribal chairman during his term as Justice of the Peace.
Crow Tribe v. Gonzales, CR 10-2330, 10-2331, 10-2332 (Crow Tribal Court, 2011); the Crow Tribal Court, Judge Julie Yarlott presiding, ruled that the Crow Tribal Prosecutor need not be confirmed by the Crow Tribal Legislature because CLB 05-01 (which sought to require confirmation) was implicitly repealed by passage of CLB 06-08 (the veto-override process). Judge Yarlott further held that Legislative Resolutions cannot bind the Executive or Judicial Branch of Government under the doctrine of separation of powers, that no constitutional language supports Legislative Branch confirmation of Executive appointments, and that the Crow Tribal Prosecutor is acting on a delegation of authority from the Executive Branch.
In Re Legal Status of Crow Tribal Chairmanship, 53 IBIA 25 (Feb. 8 2011); this administrative dismissal of Calvin Jefferson's challenge to the outcome of the 2008 tribal election for Executive Branch chairman was due to the apparent mootness of the issue (Jefferson was elected as vice-chairman) and Jefferson's failure to respond to a request by the Interior Board of Indian Appeals for further briefing.
Crow Tribe v. Norton, Civil Action No. 02-284 (RCL), U.S. District Court for District of Columbia (2006); approval of Crow Tribe's $10 million settlement for various breach of trust and tribal trust accounting claims against Secretary of Interior.
Huber v. Venne, et. al., CV 04-001 (Crow Tribal Court; 2005); the Crow Tribal Court, Judge Angela Russell presiding, ruled that a tribal member's challenge against the lawfulness of the General Council's adoption of the 2001 tribal constitution was barred by the two year tribal statute of limitations (under CRCP 27) and that no deficiency was apparent in the manner by which the 2001 tribal constitution was adopted.
Crow Tribe v. Repsis, 73 F.3d 982 (10th Cir. 1995); held that Crow Tribe's 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty right to hunt on "unoccupied lands of the United States" was extinguished upon Wyoming statehood. The case arose when Tyrone Ten Bear, a Crow Indian, was cited by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for violations of state law when Ten Bear was found hunting elk in Wyoming's Bighorn National Forest without any state license or permit.
Caution: four years after the Repsis decision in the Tenth Circuit, the United States Supreme Court, in Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa, 526 U.S. 127 (1999), rejected the primary legal basis upon which the Tenth Circuit ruled that the Crow Tribe did not have a modern treaty right to hunt off-reservation.