Case could upset sovereign immunity doctrine
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MONDAY, MAY 12, 2003

The Supreme Court is set to decide whether sovereign immunity protects tribes from state criminal warrants and searches.

The Bishop Paiute Tribe of California resisted law enforcement efforts to obtain confidential employee records. So the Inyo County sheriff went to the tribe's casino and seized the documents with the aid of some bolt cutters.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the county's action violated the tribe's sovereignty.

The case is Inyo County v. Bishop Paiute Tribe, No. 02-281.

Get the Story:
Sovereign strife (The Sacramento Bee 5/11)
Justices' comments hint at possible compromise (The Sacramento Bee 5/11)

Supreme Court Briefs:
Inyo County v. Bishop Paiute Tribe

Decision Below:
BISHOP PAIUTE TRIBE v. COUNTY OF INYO No. 01-15007 (January 4, 2002)

Relevant Documents:
Docket Sheet: No. 02-281 | Senate Testimony: Monty Bengochia on Supreme Court Precedents

Relevant Links:
Paiuite Palace Casino -
Inyo County -

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Oral argument transcript posted in Inyo County case (04/29)
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Supreme Court case too close to call for some (04/01)
County presses Supreme Court on law enforcement (04/01)
Supreme Court hears sovereignty case (3/31)
Supreme Court panel to discuss Inyo County case (3/31)
Ore. withdraws from states' Supreme Court brief (3/27)
Tribes and states stress cooperation not conflict (02/28)
Tribes enter Supreme Court case (2/25)
Inouye ties sovereignty to homeland security (2/25)
Showdown looms in tribal sovereignty case (02/20)
S.D. tribe to accept state subpoenas (2/19)
S.D. puts pressure on tribal sovereignty (2/12)
Supreme Court work at issue as judge debated (01/30)