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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Supreme Court today overturned a 2005 appeals court decision, restoring the state's right to enforce hunting laws in Utah's "Indian Country."
The unanimous decision also reinstates the poaching convictions of three men.
The dispute began in 2002 after a boy shot and killed a trophy deer while hunting with his father. They had no state licences and no tag for the animal.
Rickie L. Reber was convicted of a third-degree felony and his son was adjudicated in juvenile court.
Two other adults joined the Reber appeal after being convicted of similar, misdemeanor poaching crimes.
In its ruling, the high court said the state holds legal jurisdiction over non-Indians in crimes committed on land considered Indian Country, which is a geographical distinction, NOT land solely owned by a recognized American Indian tribe.
Justices also said Reber and his son are not members of a tribe, as they claimed and can't seek protections under federal law.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)