Chehalis tribal member Gerald Cayenne wasn't exactly going after whale or anything so controversial, but contrary to state law, he did take a gillnet off the reservation to catch fish in the Chehalis river without a permit. The net works by trapping fish as they swim into it, trapping them by their gills, making it impossible to back out.
Like most fishing and hunting activities, using the net to haul fish from a river without a permit is illegal. In fact in Washington state, it's a felony. Cayenne was busted and sentenced to eight months probation during which time he was forbidden to possess a gillnet off or on the reservation.
An appellate court overturned Cayenne's sentence as it applies to tribal land, saying the state doesn't have jurisdiction to forbid him access to a gillnet there. The state appealed to the high court.
Today the state Supreme Court judges ruled unanimously that sentences for tribal members convicted of crimes off tribal land can't escape their sentences on the reservation. "Limiting the trial court's sentencing authority, as Cayenne requests, would create the unwanted result of permitting tribal lands to be havens for criminals avoiding justice after violating state laws," writes Justice Charles Johnson.