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August 4, 2009: Bressi v. Ford

Police officers for Native American tribes do not have the same authority to stop and question non-Indians traveling on state roads within the reservation as they do tribal members, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. The judges said roadblocks set up on state roads are permissible — but only to the extent that the stop is limited to determine if the person is an Indian. Judge William Canby Jr., writing for the unanimous court, said if there are "obvious violations,'' like driving drunk, tribal police officers may detain the person for eventual delivery to state officers.

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