As a result of changes in federal law, criminal defendants or defense attorneys are now more likely to find themselves appearing in American Indian tribal courts. This article summarizes the very knotty jurisdictional maze that surrounds criminal law and American Indians or Indian tribes. It explains recent changes in the handling of domestic violence cases in tribal courts following 2013 congressional action and the enhanced enforcement now occurring by tribal police and prosecutors. Finally, the article offers general advice to lawyers not familiar with practicing law in tribal courts.

Diamond, James, Practicing Indian Law in Federal, State, and Tribal Criminal Courts and an Update on Recent Expansion of Criminal Jurisdiction Over Non-Indians (January 16, 2018). Criminal Justice, Volume 32, Number 4, Winter 2018. Available at SSRN:

James Diamond

University of Arizona

Professor James Diamond teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law and procedure, Indian law and tribal courts. He is the Director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program's Tribal Justice Clinic. Diamond's academic research focuses on the aftermath of mass shootings and his doctoral dissertation is entitled The Aftermath of Mass Shootings, Lessons from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and Other Indigenous Peoples. Professor Diamond joined The James E. Rogers College of Law in 2014, teaching in the Undergraduate and Masters in Legal Studies Programs. Prior to teaching Professor Diamond practiced law for 25 years in Connecticut.


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