United States v. John,
437 U.S. 634 (1978)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. John, 437 U.S. 634 (1978)

United States v. John

No. 77-836

Argued April 19, 1978

Decided June 23, 1978*

437 U.S. 634


Lands designated as a reservation for Choctaw Indians residing in central Mississippi. held, on the basis of the history of the relations between the Mississippi Choctaws and the United States, to be "Indian country," as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1151 (1976 ed.) to include "land within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States Government," and as used in the Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1153, which makes any Indian who commits certain specified offenses

"within the Indian country . . . subject to the same laws and penalties as all other persons committing [such] offenses, within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States."

Neither the fact that the Choctaws in Mississippi are merely a remnant of a larger group of Indians nor the fact that federal supervision over them has not been continuous affects the federal power to deal with them under these statutes. Hence, the Major Crimes Act provided a proper basis for federal prosecution of a Choctaw Indian for assault with intent to kill (one of the specified offenses) occurring on such lands, and Mississippi had no power similarly to prosecute him for the same offense. Pp. 437 U. S. 638-654.

No. 77-836, 560 F.2d 1202, reversed and remanded; No. 77-575, 347 So.2d 959, reversed.

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Page 437 U. S. 635

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