Editorial: State authority over tribal members
"In a unanimous decision, the state Supreme Court has sent a strong statement that the courts can regulate the conduct of tribal members.

It's a welcome decision because it gives judges in the state court system the authority over the misconduct of tribal members when their crimes are committed away from the reservation.

The case centered on Gerald Cayenne, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis, which has its reservation in southwest Washington. As the justices noted, the Chehalis tribe enjoys an exclusive right to fish within its reservation boundaries. But as a nontreaty tribe, the Chehalis tribal members are subject to all state laws when fishing on nontribal lands.

The court record shows that in 2005, enforcement officers from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife twice observed Cayenne unlawfully gillnetting in the Chehalis River while on nontribal land. The officers arrested Cayenne, who was charged with two felony counts of first-degree unlawful use of nets to take fish. A jury convicted Cayenne of one count."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Court issues welcome ruling on tribes (The Olympian 12/8)

Court Decision:
Washington v. Cayenne (November 13, 2008)

Case Materials:
Washington v. Cayenne (Turtle Talk)

Related Stories:
Court allows limit on Chehalis man's fishing rights (11/14)