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SVP Commitments – Jurisdiction – Qualifying Conviction for Act Committed by Native American on Reservation

State v. Steven J. Burgess, 2003 WI 71, affirming 2002 WI App 264; habeas relief denied, Steven J. Burgess v. Watters, 467 F.3d 676 (7th Cir 2006)
For Burgess: Steven P. Weiss, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue: Whether ch. 980 jurisdiction attaches to Native Americans who: are members of a tribe, residents of the tribe’s reservation, and commit the acts involved in the qualifying conviction on the reservation.

Holding: State laws are generally inapplicable to tribal Indians on an Indian reservation except where Congress has expressly so provided. All Indian country in Wisconsin, except for the Menominee Tribe, is subject to PL-280, which does not grant “general civil regulatory power over Indian reservations.” Chapter 980 proceedings aren’t easily categorized, falling squarely within neither the criminal/prohibitory nor civil/regulatory labels. But the primary purpose of Ch. 980 is protection of the public, and the conduct addressed by commitments is prohibited; therefore the state may enforce the procedure within Indian reservations. ¶¶11-21.

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