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What SCOTUS rejection of double jeopardy claim means for tribal and federal courts

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a man sentenced in a Court of Indian Offenses can also be prosecuted by a federal court for the same incident.

The defendant, a member of the Navajo Nation, was charged and sentenced in connection with violent sexual offenses committed on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation against another citizen of the Navajo Nation. The man was later charged and sentenced for the same incident in federal court.

But he argued that was double jeopardy — being charged twice for the same crime. The Supreme Court rejected that argument.

The Show spoke about this case and its implications with Stacy Leeds, Foundation Professor of Law and Leadership at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU. She’s also a tribal judge.

She began by talking about how it seems as though the defendant was concerned about the double jeopardy issue, between the tribal court and the federal one.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.