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400-Year Old Law on Trial; the Cooley Case

March 25
07:33 2021

US Supreme Court Hears Cooley Case

 By John Christian Hopkins

Joshua Cooley is facing federal drug trafficking charges.

Or is he?

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week as Cooley seeks to have the evidence against him surpressed.

His defense dates back 400 years, when the Pilgrims made their first treaty with the Wampanoag tribe.

Simply put, Cooley is arguing that as a non-Indian tribal police have no authority over him.

He was stopped on the Crow reservation in Montana and tribal police found him in possession of illegal drugs.

Cooley wants the evidence found by tribal police to be tossed out because they had no right to arrest him.

This issue has been a thorn in the side of the courts since 1621. That was the year when the Pilgrims signed a pact with the Indians.

Under that agreement, whites accused of committing a crime against an Indian would be tried by the colonists. That premise has lingered on.

When the federal government urged tribes in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) to create their own police departments it was determined that tribal police had no authority over non-tribal members.

Cooley managed to get the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to agree with his stance.

The Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling by the end of the current term in June.

400-Year Old Law on Trial; the Cooley Case - overview

Summary: 400-Year Old Law on Trial; the Cooley Case


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