Hagen v. Utah, 510 U.S. 399, 11 (1994)

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Cite as: 510 U. S. 399 (1994)

Opinion of the Court

The Utah Supreme Court reversed on the authority of State v. Perank, 858 P. 2d 927 (1992), in which the court had held (on the same day as the decision in petitioner's case) that the reservation had been diminished and that Myton was outside its boundaries, and thus that petitioner's offense was subject to state criminal jurisdiction. 858 P. 2d 925 (1992); see Solem v. Bartlett, 465 U. S. 463, 467 (1984) ("As a doctrinal matter, the States have jurisdiction over unallotted opened lands if the applicable surplus land Act freed that land of its reservation status and thereby diminished the reservation boundaries"). The court accordingly reinstated petitioner's conviction.

We granted certiorari, 507 U. S. 1028 (1993), to resolve the direct conflict between these decisions of the Tenth Circuit and the Utah Supreme Court on the question whether the Uintah Reservation has been diminished.


We first address a threshold question: whether the State of Utah, which was a party to the Tenth Circuit proceedings, should be collaterally estopped from relitigating the reservation boundaries. In Perank, the Utah Supreme Court noted that "neither Perank, the Department of Justice, nor the Tribe suggests that the Tenth Circuit's en banc decision in Ute Indian Tribe has res judicata effect in this case." 858 P. 2d, at 931. Because "[r]es judicata is an affirmative defense in both criminal and civil cases and therefore is waivable," id., at 931, n. 3, the court went on to consider the merits of the State's claim.

Petitioner's only recourse would have been to attack the judgment in Perank on the ground that the Utah Supreme Court failed to give effect sua sponte to the prior determination in Ute Indian Tribe that the reservation had not been diminished. Although that issue is one of federal law, see Restatement (Second) of Judgments 86 (1982), it was not presented in the petition for a writ of certiorari. It there-


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