An Indian tribe in the Mojave Desert claims that a San Bernardino County
deputy sheriff illegally issued traffic tickets on tribal lands, but the
county claims that the tickets are valid and the revenue they produce
belongs to the state.
The Chemehuevi Indian Tribe is particularly upset over a spate of tickets
issued in the spring of 2015 by one deputy; court papers claim that Deputy
Ronald Sindelar was pulling over tribe members without probable cause,
which amounts to racial profiling. However, the county says that Deputy
Sindelar issued the tickets on
non-tribal land that was designated for schools in 1853. Further complicating matters,
Congress gave states the exclusive power to enforce laws in these areas,
except for traffic tickets and other “regulatory offenses.”
As most of the tickets at issue involve license and registration issues,
the county claims that Deputy Sindelar was investigating possible auto
The lawsuit demands an injunction and unspecified damages.
Tickets on Federal Property
Under most treaties, American Indian tribes have a great deal of autonomy
on tribal lands, and these things are the subject of an entirely different
blog. Most California drivers are much more concerned about traffic tickets
on federal property, and these citations work in a similar way.
Many drivers are ticketed on some of the sprawling federally-owned lands
in Central California, like Death Valley National Park. All these citations
go to the
federal courthouse in Bakersfield, despite the fact that Ridgecrest and Barstow are a lot closer. This courthouse
can be very frustrating to deal with for those who are used to the easy
scheduling of many county courts. It’s very important to partner
with an attorney that regularly practices in this court, because with
all due respect to my colleagues who do not regularly practice federal
law, anyone else may be as lost as you would be.
Getting Legal Help
The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving
individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call
today at 661-859-1177 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español,
llame al 661-376-0214.