The Four Corners Monument is a place where you can stand in four states at the same time (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah).

If someone committed a crime while standing there, which of the states can or cannot charge that person with that crime?

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    The Four Corners Monument itself is administered by the Navajo Nation Department of Parks and Recreation. Jan 28, 2018 at 20:17
  • It's complicated: tribal-institute.org/lists/jurisdiction.htm The Navajo Tribe, the Ute Nation and the Feds have jurisdiction. Jan 29, 2018 at 16:07
  • Somewhere on this site a US defamation case is mentioned, with multiple defendants in multiple states, and the court case ended up in the state of the single victim. Which matches the principle of some other countries that a crime legally happens where it has its effect (for example not where the perpetrator shoots a gun, but where the bullet hits the victim).
    – gnasher729
    Oct 19, 2019 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


All Four of them! Double Jeopardy is not in play if a jurisdiction can lay claim to your criminal action, so if you stand on the Four Corners and shoot a man in any of the four states, each state has a right to charge murder. In addition, the Federal Government can have a go at you because you crossed state lines while in comission of a crime. Plus the Navajo Nation, which controls the reservation land the border is on. So that six separate charges.

That said, the state the dead body occupied at time of Murder would have the best case for action and the other three would likely let that state try you first. The Feds would only step in if each of the four states failed to convict, though they can step in whenever they want (they are just watching to see if you'll serve time first). Not sure at which point Tribal jurisdiction applies, but given that this is a fairly common Jurisdiction issue, I'm sure it's been worked out.

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    @AndrewJohnson: I'm really hoping that there is a reason for asking this beyond "Planning for Vacation". To be quite honest, If you are dead on the mark of the Four Corners and do that, well, you're the one who decided to commit a crime in the one spot in the United States with 4-6 different valid jurisdictions to convict you in.
    – hszmv
    Jan 29, 2018 at 16:03
  • :I am doing research for a book I may or may not start writing. Jan 29, 2018 at 16:35
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    Tribal jurisdiction or federal jurisdiction will probably apply, based on the status of the offender. States may not have criminal jurisdiction. See en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Country_Jurisdiction, there is also other cases necessary to consider such as New Mexico v. Mescalero Apache Tribe, which may change this and I don't have the necessary qualifications to speculate on an outcome. If someone has access federal and state cases (probably on a trial level) in the area this question could be adequately resolved.
    – Viktor
    Jan 29, 2018 at 16:42
  • @AndrewJohnson: Another problem that occurs is that it looks like the entirety of the monument is in New Mexico, as the precision of the four corners monument was not as specific as the actual border lines occur. some distance off. Now, supposing the victim actually was on the correct border, there would be a massive jurisdiction nightmare, but if they were to commit the crime dead center of the Monument, they would still be 100% in NM, so the State of New Mexico, plus the tribal land, plus the feds would be the squabbling interest. I still don't know what the Tribal Police would do though.
    – hszmv
    Jan 29, 2018 at 21:11
  • @AndrewJohnson If that is for a new book, beware that there is a similar plot in one of The Simpsons episodes. People will see the paralels rather soon...
    – SJuan76
    Jan 31, 2018 at 12:45

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