Seymour v. Superintendent
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368 U.S. 351 (1962)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Seymour v. Superintendent, 368 U.S. 351 (1962)
Seymour v. Superintendent of Washington State Penitentiary
Argued December 13, 1961
Decided January 15, 1962
368 U.S. 351
Petitioner is imprisoned in the Washington State Penitentiary under a sentence for attempted burglary imposed by a state court. He petitioned the State Supreme Court for habeas corpus, alleging that he is an Indian, that the alleged offense was committed in "Indian country," and that, therefore, exclusive jurisdiction was in the United States under 18 U.S.C. § 1153. The Court found that petitioner was a member of the Colville Tribe, but it denied habeas corpus on the ground that the place where the offense was committed was no longer an Indian reservation, though it had been a part of the Colville Indian Reservation.
Held: the Colville Indian Reservation is still in existence; the land upon which the offense is alleged to have occurred is within the limits of that Reservation; the state courts had no jurisdiction to try petitioner for that offense, and the judgment denying habeas corpus is reversed. Pp. 368 U. S. 352-359.
(a) The Act of March 22, 1906, providing for the disposition of surplus lands remaining in the South Half of the diminished Colville Indian Reservation did not dissolve that Reservation, and it is still in existence. Pp. 368 U. S. 354-357.
(b) Even if the land upon which the alleged offense was committed was held by a non-Indian under a patent in fee, a different conclusion would not be required, since 18 U.S.C. § 1151 defines "Indian country" as including "all land within the limits of any Indian reservation . . . , notwithstanding the issuance of any patent." Pp. 368 U. S. 357-358.
(c) A different conclusion is not required by the fact that the land on which the offense occurred is located within a governmental townsite laid out by the Federal Government under § 11 of the 1906 Act. Pp. 368 U. S. 358-359.
55 Wash.2d 109, 346 P.2d 669, reversed.