Case Summary Citation

United States v. Bryant, 136 U.S. 1954, (June 13, 2016).


The epidemic of domestic violence committed against Native American women and the jurisdictional maze these women are forced to navigate for justice is an unfortunate reality created by gaps in laws between sovereigns. In an effort to curb this violence, the 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act enacted 18 U.S.C. § 117(a), the habitual offender provision. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling in favor of the Sixth Amendment over the unreliability of uncounseled tribal court convictions created a circuit split, thus the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari for resolution. The Court held that when tribal court convictions occur in proceedings that comply with ICRA, and thus are “valid when entered, use of those convictions as predicate offenses in a § 117(a) prosecution does not violate the Constitution.”

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