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EX PARTE CROW DOG, 109 U. S. 556 (1883)

U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte Crow Dog, 109 U.S. 556 (1883)

Ex Parte Crow Dog

Argued November 26, 1883

Decided December 17, 1883

109 U.S. 556


1. The 1st Judicial District Court of Dakota, sitting as a circuit court of the United States, has jurisdiction under the laws of the United States, over offenses made punishable by those laws committed within that part of the Sioux reservation which is within the limits of the territory.

2. In the interpretation of statutes, clauses which have been repealed may still be considered in construing provisions which remain in force.

3. The definition of the term "Indian Country" contained in c. 61, § 1 of the Act of 1834, 4 Stat. 729, though not incorporated in the Revised Statutes, and though repealed simultaneously with their enactment, may be referred to in order to determine what is meant by the term when used in statutes, and it applies to all the country to which the Indian title has not been extinguished within the limits of the United States, whether within a reservation or not, and whether acquired before or since the passage of that act.

4. The legislation of the United States may be constitutionally extended over Indian country by mere force of a treaty, without legislative provisions.

5. Neither the provisions of article 1 in the treaty of 1868 with the Sioux, that

"If bad men among the Indians shall commit a wrong or depredation upon the person or property of anyone, white, black, or Indian, subject to the authority of the United States and at peace therewith, the Indians herein named solemnly agree that they will, upon proof made to their agent and notice by him, deliver up the wrongdoer to the United States, to be tried and punished according to its laws,"

nor any other provision in that act, nor the provision in article 8 of the agreement embodied in the Act of February 28th, 1877, c. 72, 19 Stat. 250, that they "shall to subject to the laws of the United States," nor any other provision in that agreement or act operated to repeal the provision of Rev.Stat. § 2146 which excepts from the general jurisdiction of courts of the United States over offenses committed in Indian country "crimes committed by one Indian against the person or property of another Indian," and offenses committed in Indian country by an Indian who has been punished by the local law of the tribe, and offenses where by treaty stipulations the exclusive jurisdiction over the same is or may be secured to the Indian tribes respectively.

6. The objects sought to be accomplished by the treaty of 1868 with the Sioux, and the humane purposes of Congress in the legislation of 1877, examined and shown to be inconsistent with the assumption of such a general jurisdiction by the courts of the United States.

Page 109 U. S. 557

7. The doctrine that courts do not favor repeals of statutes by implication reasserted, and authorities referred to. Especially a court of limited and special jurisdiction should not take jurisdiction over a case involving human life, through an implied repeal of a statute denying it, when the words relied on are general and inconclusive, and the fact that to hold that a statute repeals by implication a previous act would reverse a well settled policy of Congress justifies the courts in requiring a clear expression of the intention of Congress in the repealing act.

Petition for writs of habeas corpus and certiorari.

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