senate Bill S7828

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to the jurisdiction of the St. Regis Mohawk tribal police

download bill text pdf

Sponsored By

Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

do you support this bill?

Actions

view actions (1)
Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jun 12, 2014 referred to investigations and government operations

S7828 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Investigations And Government Operations
Law Section:
Indian Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง114, Indian L

S7828 - Bill Texts

view summary

Relates to the jurisdiction of the St. Regis Mohawk tribal police and provides for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof; expands the authority of the St. Regis police to include a specific area of Franklin county, outside of the state-recognized boundaries of the reservation commonly referred to as the Bombay Triangle; authorizes the superintendent of state police with the authority to certify tribal officers with additional authority to exercise police powers in this expanded area; the superintendent would also have the ability to revoke the expanded certification.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S7828

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the Indian law, in relation to the
jurisdiction of the St. Regis Mohawk tribal police; and providing for
the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof

Purpose of the Bill: To enhance highway safety and increase the law
enforcement presence in a specific area of Franklin County.

Summary of Provisions: This bill would amend subdivision 2 of section
114 of the Indian Law to authorize the Superintendent of State Police
to expand the authority of the St. Regis Police to include a specific
area of Franklin County, outside of the state-recognized boundaries of
the St. Regis Indian reservation to the area commonly referred to as
the Bombay Triangle, so that they may lawfully stop vehicles suspected
of criminal violations such as smuggling, DWI and traffic offenses.

This bill would authorize the Superintendent of State Police, who
currently certifies each tribal officer with state authority on the
reservation, with the authority to certify the officers with
additional authority to exercise police powers in this expanded area.
The Superintendent would also have the ability to revoke the expanded
certification if warranted in the same manner that he or she may now
revoke the original certification. As such, the State of New York
would retain control of the law enforcement activity in this area.

Existing Law: Indian Law section 114 currently limits the authority
of the St. Regis Mohawk tribal police to the state-recognized
boundaries of the reservation, which does not include this property.

Prior Legislative History: New Bill

Statement in Support: As a result of a long standing dispute between
the State of New York and members of the St Regis Tribe concerning the
legitimacy of a historical conveyance of certain property in Franklin
County, the State and members of the Tribe disagree on the current
location of reservation boundaries. The Tribe considers the boundaries
to be shaped as a roughly intact rectangle. The State's position is
that the reservation lands do not include a triangle-shaped piece of
land in the center of the southern half of what would otherwise be a
fairly clear rectangle. This contested land in the Town of Bombay is
often referred to as the Bombay Triangle or the Hogansburg Triangle.

Section 114 of the New York Indian Law granted the Superintendent of
State Police the authority to certify members of the St. Regis Police
Department with state-recognized police officer powers on reservation
lands. Although it has been regularly patrolled by state-certified St.
Regis tribal officers, courts have recently held that the grant of
police authority to the St. Regis officers did not include this
triangular-shaped piece of property because section 114 was
specifically limited to the reservation itself and the disputed land
it is not land considered by New York State to be within the
boundaries of the reservation.

As a result, courts have held that several vehicle stops and
subsequent arrests in this area by tribal officers to be unlawful.
Defense attorneys have subsequently used these decisions to dismiss


criminal cases, including DWIs and drug related crimes that have been
committed in this territory. This has a detrimental effect on public
safety because a portion of a major highway, Route 37, passes directly
through this section of land and is a popular route among smugglers
and drug traffickers.

Under this bill, dismissals such as these would be avoided as the
authority of the St. Regis tribal officers to make arrests in this
area would be beyond question under both State law and tribal law.
The bill would provide a stop-gap measure that would effectively solve
a vulnerability problem in the public security structure in this area.
Moreover, it would be accomplished in a manner that would not be
interpreted as a concession by either the State or the Tribe with
respect to the underlying, long-standing boundary dispute. As these
provisions would sunset in 2015, they would create a temporary measure
that would enhance highway safety and provide police protection to the
residents of this area. The law could be extended once it proves to be
beneficial to both the Tribe and the State.

The alternative to this bill is to continue to have the St. Regis
police make arrests that are subject to being dismissed by the courts,
or to have an increased State Police presence in this area. However,
as State Troopers have not traditionally patrolled this area, a change
in this practice could incite unrest as the tribal members who live in
this area consider this land to be tribal property. A surge in State
Police patrols in this area would be interpreted as an infringement of
tribal sovereignty, thus potentially leading to an unnecessary
conflict between its members and State authorities.

The tribal police department, through the operation of a New York
State statute, has become a State-recognized and certified police
department whose members have successfully enforced the law and
prosecuted cases in New York courts. They have proven themselves as an
important partner in the fight against drug smuggling and other border
related crimes and offenses. In fact, there is now a close partnership
between the State Police and the St Regis Tribal Police department
that has resulted in mutual benefits to both agencies. The limited
expansion proposed by this bill facilitates that relationship and
would solve an unaddressed problem that has resulted in needless
dismissals of criminal cases. As this solution is one that could be
accepted by the members of the Tribe who live in the area, it would
enhance the safety of the members of both police departments by
reducing the tensions that would otherwise result from a perception of
State intrusion into this disputed territory.

Budget Implications: Although it would not have a significant effect
on the State budget it would enable the Town of Bombay to collect more
fine money for traffic tickets and arrests made by the tribal police
as they would no longer have to be dismissed by the court based on a
claim of lack of jurisdiction.

Local Impact: This would reduce tensions between members of the St.
Regis Tribe and State authorities and would provide a solution to a
unique problem that would not effect the legal position of either the
State or the Tribe in any land claims relating to this property. It
will also further enhance the positive relationship between the New
York State Police and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department.


Effective Date: This act shall take effect immediately and shall be
in effect until September 1, 2015 when upon such date the provisions
of this act shall be deemed repealed.

view full text
download pdf
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  7828

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              June 12, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  LITTLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern-
  ment Operations

AN ACT to amend the Indian law, in relation to the jurisdiction  of  the
  St.   Regis Mohawk tribal police; and providing for the repeal of such
  provisions upon expiration thereof

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 114 of the Indian law, as added by
chapter 558 of the laws of 2005, is amended and a new subdivision 8-a is
added to read as follows:
  2.  Upon  the  application of the St. Regis Mohawk tribal council, the
superintendent of state police may appoint any person as a police  offi-
cer  with  all powers provided for in the criminal procedure law, except
for those powers specifically excepted by this section, for the  preser-
vation  of  order and of the public peace, and the arrest of all persons
committing offenses upon the St. Regis  Mohawk  tribal  reservation  AND
UPON  ADDITIONAL  LANDS  AS  SET  FORTH  IN  SUBDIVISION EIGHT-A OF THIS
SECTION.  The total number of appointments shall be  determined  by  the
superintendent in his or her discretion.
  8-A.  UPON THE APPLICATION OF THE ST. REGIS MOHAWK TRIBAL COUNCIL, THE
SUPERINTENDENT OF THE STATE POLICE IS AUTHORIZED TO EXPAND THE JURISDIC-
TION OF ANY PERSON APPOINTED A POLICE OFFICER UNDER THIS SECTION TO  THE
AREA  WITHIN  THE COUNTY OF FRANKLIN, OUTSIDE OF THE BOUNDARY OF THE ST.
REGIS RESERVATION, TO THE AREA KNOWN AS THE "BOMBAY  TRIANGLE"  IN  SUCH
MANNER  THAT  THE SOUTHERN BOUNDARY OF THE AREA OF EXPANDED JURISDICTION
SHALL BE A STRAIGHT LINE BEGINNING AT A POINT ON THE  SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY
IN  THE  SOUTHWEST  QUADRANT  OF THE ST. REGIS RESERVATION, FIVE HUNDRED
FEET EAST OF THE ST. REGIS RIVER AT 44.9540N 74.6873W, CONTINUING IN  AN
EASTERLY DIRECTION TO A POINT ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER IN THE SOUTHWESTERN
QUADRANT  OF  THE RESERVATION AT 44.9526N 74.6132W. THE AREA OF EXPANDED
JURISDICTION SHALL INCLUDE ALL POINTS NORTH OF THIS LINE DESCRIBED HERE-
IN CONTINUING TO THE SOUTHERN-MOST BORDER OF THE ST. REGIS  RESERVATION.
SUCH  EXPANDED  JURISDICTION  MAY  BE REVOKED OR SUSPENDED BY THE SUPER-

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD15575-01-4

S. 7828                             2

INTENDENT AT HIS OR HER DISCRETION. OFFICERS EXERCISING POLICE AUTHORITY
PURSUANT TO THIS EXPANDED JURISDICTION SHALL BE SUBJECT TO  ALL  OF  THE
PROVISIONS  SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION IN THE SAME MANNER AS IF THEY WERE
OPERATING  WITHIN THE STATE-RECOGNIZED BORDERS OF THE ST. REGIS RESERVA-
TION AND ALL RESPONSIBILITIES SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION WITH RESPECT  TO
THE  DUTIES  OF THE ST. REGIS MOHAWK TRIBE, INCLUDING THE DUTY TO INDEM-
NIFY AND SAVE HARMLESS, SHALL APPLY TO THIS AREA IN THE SAME  MANNER  AS
IF  IT  WAS  WITHIN  THE  STATE-RECOGNIZED BOUNDARIES OF THE ST.   REGIS
RESERVATION. A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE  ST.    REGIS
MOHAWK  TRIBAL POLICE DEPARTMENT SHALL KEEP THE SUPERINTENDENT INFORMED,
ON A MONTHLY BASIS, OF  ALL  CRIMES,  ACCIDENTS  AND  REQUESTS  FOR  LAW
ENFORCEMENT  SERVICES OCCURRING WITHIN THE AREA DESCRIBED IN THIS SUBDI-
VISION IN WHATEVER MANNER  AND  FORMAT  THE  SUPERINTENDENT  DESIGNATES.
NOTHING  IN  THIS  SECTION SHALL BE INTERPRETED IN A MANNER TO REDUCE OR
ELIMINATE THE EXISTING JURISDICTION OF ANY OTHER STATE OR  LOCAL  POLICE
DEPARTMENT WITHIN THIS AREA.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire September
1,  2015  when upon such date the provisions of this act shall be deemed
repealed.

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.