Bourdon v. State

[CRIMINAL PROCEDURE]

In Bourdon v. State, the court of appeals held that the superior court has proper jurisdiction over criminal cases regarding Native American sovereign citizens.[1] Eugene Brown was convicted of four counts of second-degree sexual abuse, appealed more than ten years later, and had his convictions affirmed by the court of appeals.[2] He then filed a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the superior court lacked jurisdiction to enter judgment against him because he was a Native American sovereign citizen.[3] The superior court denied Bourdon’s petition, reasoning that it was both untimely and without merit.[4] On appeal, Bourdon argued that, because he was a sovereign citizen, the state of Alaska had no power to enforce its laws against him without his consent.[5] The court of appeals also rejected this argument, reasoning that the Alaska Constitution granted the legislature authority to prescribe state court jurisdiction, and that the legislature had authorized the superior court to exercise original jurisdiction over all criminal matters that took place within Alaska.[6] Affirming the denial of the habeas corpus petition, the court of appeals held that because the superior court had jurisdiction over all criminal acts that were committed in Alaska, it had proper jurisdiction over Bourdon’s acts which took place within the state.[7]

[1] 370 P.3d 1116 (Alaska Ct. App. 2016).

[2] Id. at 1117.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id. at 1117-18.

[7] Id.

Bourdon v. State

[CRIMINAL PROCEDURE]

In Bourdon v. State, the court of appeals held that the superior court has proper jurisdiction over criminal cases regarding Native American sovereign citizens.[1] Eugene Brown was convicted of four counts of second-degree sexual abuse, appealed more than ten years later, and had his convictions affirmed by the court of appeals.[2] He then filed a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the superior court lacked jurisdiction to enter judgment against him because he was a Native American sovereign citizen.[3] The superior court denied Bourdon’s petition, reasoning that it was both untimely and without merit.[4] On appeal, Bourdon argued that, because he was a sovereign citizen, the state of Alaska had no power to enforce its laws against him without his consent.[5] The court of appeals also rejected this argument, reasoning that the Alaska Constitution granted the legislature authority to prescribe state court jurisdiction, and that the legislature had authorized the superior court to exercise original jurisdiction over all criminal matters that took place within Alaska.[6] Affirming the denial of the habeas corpus petition, the court of appeals held that because the superior court had jurisdiction over all criminal acts that were committed in Alaska, it had proper jurisdiction over Bourdon’s acts which took place within the state.[7]

[1] 370 P.3d 1116 (Alaska Ct. App. 2016).

[2] Id. at 1117.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id. at 1117-18.

[7] Id.