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Arizona ruling: Reach of sex offender law is limited

Court overturns ruling against state on fund raidAn Arizona appellate court has ruled that Native Americans living on tribal reservations generally can’t be prosecuted under state law for failing to register as sex offenders.

The state Court of Appeals said a Navajo man living on the tribe’s reservation was arrested by a Coconino County sheriff’s deputy off the reservation in 2010.

The man was charged with failing to register as a sex offender because he had been convicted of sexual assault in the late 1980s.

However, the appeals court said federal law on sex offenders pre-empts the Arizona law requiring registration.

Under the ruling, Arizona’s law applies to reservation residents only under limited circumstances, such as a tribe delegating its authority to the state.

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