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Fourstar v. Riden

United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division

December 6, 2018

VICTOR CHARLES FOURSTAR, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
WADE H. RIDEN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Susan P. Watters United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Fourstar submitted a complaint and motion to proceed in forma pauperis on August 20, 2018.

         I. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

Fourstar's application shows he cannot afford to pay the full filing fee. The motion will be granted.

         II. Screening

         Although Fourstar is now incarcerated, he was not a prisoner at the time he filed the complaint. Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must review his complaint to determine whether it fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         Fourstar is also self-represented. "A document pro se is to be liberally construed, and a. pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Courts must briefly explain deficiencies that may be cured by amendment, see Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012), but if a claim cannot be cured by amendment, "the court shall dismiss" it, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (emphasis added).

         III. Deficiencies in Complaint

         A. Claim 1

         Fourstar alleges that Defendants Alisha Corpron, a Wolf Point police officer, and Angela Mathews, a tribal officer, arrested and detained him for violating tribal law against disorderly conduct and public intoxication on June 17, 2018, at about 1:30 a.m. He appears to allege that Corpron made the arrest and then turned him over to Mathews, who transported him to the Fort Peck Tribes' jail. The arrest and detention were unlawful, he contends, because the officers acted "without criminal jurisdiction" and "pursuant to illegal state-county-city-tribal-federal cross-deputization agreement." Fourstar claims that the resulting tribal court conviction, which allegedly supported a petition to revoke Fourstar's federal supervised release, was invalid for the same reason. He concludes that Defendants Corpron and Mathews, as well as United States Probation Officer Riden and United States District Judge Christensen, violated his rights under the First Amendment[1] and the "Bad Man Clause of 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty." Compl. (Doc. 2) at 7, 9-10.

         The "cross-deputization agreement" is not an agreement but a provision of the Fort Peck Tribes' governing law, equivalent to a section of the United States Code or the Montana Code:

State and local law enforcement officials authorized to make arrests.
(a) All law enforcement officials vested with general law enforcement authority by the State of Montana, or by any County or City within the boundaries of the Fort Peck Reservation and approved by Executive Board on recommendation of the safety committee, are hereby authorized to arrest Indians on any highway on the Reservation or within the boundaries of the cities of the Reservation for violations of the Tribal Code of Justice. Each jurisdiction shall from time to time submit the names of new law enforcement officials to the safety committee for approval.
(b) Upon arresting any Indian as authorized by this Section, such law enforcement officials shall promptly deliver the individual to the Tribal Court or to the appropriate tribal law ...

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