Frustration is clear in a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on Tuesday which reverses District Judge Bruce Jenkins’ dismissal of the lawsuit that the Ute Tribe had filed against Myton City and even reassigns the jurisdiction dispute to a new judge. The 40 year old jurisdiction dispute regained fuel in recent years with the State of Utah, several counties and most recently Myton City seeking to relitigate the boundaries and jurisdiction of tribal land. On page 14 of Tuesday’s ruling it states that Myton City “laments the consequences for the town’s administration that follow from having to contend with some parcels in town where it cannot exercise criminal jurisdiction over some persons. But this sort of ‘checkerboard’ jurisdiction - where state and local officials bear criminal enforcement power on some lands and federal and tribal officials oversee others - is the natural consequence of Congress’s decision to open and then close reservation lands to outside settlement.” The ruling continues that “checkerboard jurisdiction is a fact of daily life throughout the West, the result of many different congressional commands like those at issue here, and something many localities have lived with successfully.” In the ruling’s final pages, the Appeals Court acknowledges that reassigning a district judge is only done in extreme circumstances but states that the district court has given the 10th Circuit Court “little reason to hope that things might change on remand or that this long lingering dispute will soon find the finality it requires. Accordingly, while we see no sign of bias in this case, we conclude reassignment of this and all related disputes is required to ensure their just and timely resolution.” As a result, a new district judge will be assigned to the cases involving the Ute Tribe versus the State of Utah and other entities.
Click here to view Myton Court Ruling document: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0s248XHVM0VSnVWREVfRktqb0lSbUVhMWN6QnFwTERvYnVR/view?usp=sharing