This is a review of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) podcast titled, Territorial Jurisdiction on Federal Property, which is located online at https://www.fletc.gov/audio/territorial-jurisdiction-federal-property-mp3  .  Most of the information on the podcast is accurate and informative.  The podcast has been online since 2008 and is presented by a Senior Instructor named Jenna Solari at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC).   We see very few federal presentations or detailed definitions of jurisdiction on federally managed public lands by the Federal Government, so it is a well intention-ed attempt to inform the general public on a topic that is not understand by the vast majority of our elected officials.   There is a such a level of jurisdictional ignorance regarding federally managed public lands in the United States that it is embarrassing at the county, state and federal level.  The problem with the podcast,  is several points made by Steve Perry who has 34 years of experience USFS law enforcement, appear not to be accurate based on the federal jurisdiction reports and federal laws shared on www.PublicLandJurisdiction.com.  

In this review we will use quotes from the above linked FLETC podcast, PLJ downloaded the MP3 file , and the downloaded transcript of the podcast, and then share the federal jurisdiction report quotes and federal laws that appear to contradict some of what the USFS law enforcement officers statements.   

Quotes Contrary to Federal Law and Federal Jurisdiction Reports

 FLETC Page 2/5:

Solari: Is there a legal standard for determining the appropriate federal law enforcement support for all these properties and buildings?

Perry: Over time, there has come to be three general categories of federal land ownership. How much federal law enforcement is done, if in fact any is done at all, depends on what category of federal land we are talking about.

Solari: Well, let’s start off with the largest category, which one’s that?

Perry: The largest percentage of federal land is held in a category known as proprietary jurisdiction.

Per the federal reports in the table below there are not forms of “ownership”, there are  5 categories of legislative jurisdiction (Exclusive, Concurrent, Partial, Unknown, and Proprietorial Interest Only) on federal lands.  Three of these categories are a type of jurisdiction (Exclusive, Concurrent, and Partial).   There is also a category of jurisdiction that defines when the federal government holds NO FORM of legislative jurisdiction on the federal lands in question and that is called Proprietorial Interest Only, Mr. Perry calls this “proprietary jurisdiction”.

In the 1962 federal jurisdiction report (table below), it is revealed that over 11.5 million acres of federal land are held in “Partial Jurisdiction” and over 11,000 acres are held in the “Unknown” category, Mr. Perry does not mention either in the podcast.

Per the federal reports and federal laws referenced in the table below, there are only 3 ways in which the Federal Government can obtain any form of legislative jurisdiction on federal lands within a state and they are best summarized in this PLJ description. 

Federal Enclave: In United States law, a federal enclave is a parcel of federal property within a state, that is under the Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction of the United States.  DOJ Criminal Resource Manual 1630  — 18 U.S.C. 7, states “any property under the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction of the United States is subject to these federal enclave laws”.  “There are three methods by which the United States obtains exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction over federal lands in a state: (1) a state statute consenting to the purchase of land by the United States for the purposes enumerated in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, of the Constitution of the United States; (2) a state cession statute; and (3) a reservation of federal jurisdiction upon the admission of a state into the Union. See Collins v. Yosemite Park Co.” 

In the 1957 federal report titled, Part II Interdepartmental Committee for the Study of Jurisdiction over Federal Areas within the States, Chapter 3 (Acquisition of Legislative Jurisdiction), Page 46 it states the following: “Constitutional consent –The Constitution gives express recognition to but one means of Federal acquisition of legislative jurisdiction– by State consent under article I, section 8, clause 17.”  “No federal legislative jurisdiction without consent, cession, or reservation.  It scarcely needs to be said that unless there has been a transfer of jurisdiction (1) pursuant to clause 17 by a Federal acquisition of land with State consent, or (2) by cession from the State to the Federal Government, or (3) unless the Federal Government has reserved jurisdiction upon the admission of the State, the Federal Government possesses no legislative jurisdiction over any area within a State.”

Since 1940, per 40 USC § 3112 (C) – “It is conclusively presumed that jurisdiction has not been accepted until the government accepts jurisdiction over land as provided in this section.”  There must be a recorded federal acceptance, of a cession of legislative jurisdiction, over federal lands by a state.”

In the 1957 federal report titled, Part II Interdepartmental Committee for the Study of Jurisdiction over Federal Areas within the States, Page 5, it states the following about the Assimilative Crimes Act, (18 U.S.C. § 13) “With respect to crimes occurring within Federal enclaves the federal Congress has enacted the Assimilative Crimes Act, which adopts for enclaves, as Federal law, the State law which is in effect at the time the crime is committed.” 

Year / Federal Document Download PDF
1956 Part 1 Interdepartmental Committee for the Study of Jurisdiction Over Federal Areas within the States Download 1956 Part 1 Federal Jurisdiction Study
1957 Part 2 Interdepartmental Committee for the Study of Jurisdiction Over Federal Areas within the States Download 1957 Part 2 Federal Jurisdiction Study
1962 Federal GSA Inventory Report Jurisdictional Status of Federal Areas within the States, Eisenhower Report, all 50 states Download 1962 Inventory Report Jurisdictional Status of Federal Areas within the States, Entire Report
1969 DOJ Jurisdiction Report, Wayne Aspinall Download 1969 Federal Jurisdiction Report
1973 Military Administrative Law Handbook, Ch 6 Jurisdiction, Sect III and IV Download 1973 Military Administrative Law Handbook, Ch. 6 Jurisdiction, Section III and IV
1974 U.S. Army Jurisdiction Regulation 405-20 Download 1974 Army Jurisdiction Regulation 405-20
2020 Territorial Jurisdiction, Department of Justice, Criminal Resource Manual 664 Download 2020 Department of Justice, Criminal Resource Manual 664, Territorial Jurisdiction

 

FLETC Page 3/5

Solari: So then what is the third category of jurisdiction?

Perry: Concurrent legislative jurisdiction is the third type. It is considered partial jurisdiction because the federal government shares law enforcement responsibilities with the state and the local officers.

In the federal reports listed in the table above Concurrent Jurisdiction is Concurrent Jurisdiction and Partial Jurisdiction is Partial Jurisdiction.   Concurrent jurisdiction is not considered partial jurisdiction.   In the Federal Legislative Jurisdiction Report Prepared Wayne Aspinall for Public Land Law Review Commission, Land and Natural Resources Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC, May 1969Page 57-58 defines Concurrent and Partial Jurisdiction as two separate forms of jurisdiction:

“Concurrent legislative jurisdiction. This term is applied to those instances wherein in granting to the United States authority which would otherwise amount to exclusive legislative jurisdiction over an area, the State concerned has reserved to itself the right to exercise, concurrently with the United States, all of the same authority.”

“Partial legislative jurisdiction. This term is applied in those instances wherein the Federal Government has been granted for exercise by it over an area in a State certain of the State’s authority, but where the State concerned has reserved to itself the right to exercise, by itself or concurrently with the United States, other authority constituting more than merely the right to serve civil or criminal process in the area (e.g., the right to tax private property).”

FLETC Page 4/5

Solari: One last question: how would a person who has newly arrived at his or her duty station, find out which category he or she is working in?

The answer to this for the elected officials and the general public is Step 2 and Step 3 at https://publiclandjurisdiction.com/ By researching State records in the 1962 GSA Inventory Report Jurisdictional Status of Federal Areas within the States,  and then searching State cessions laws after 1962 per the Jurisdiction Clause Art 1, Section 8, Clause 17, everyone can find out exactly what type of the legislative jurisdiction the Federal Government holds on any federal lands / public lands of interest.