U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal Roundup for February


The following is a listing of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal cases that were decided on during the month of February.


Eighth Circuit Court, St. Louis, Missouri

South Dakota District Court’s Abuse Ruling Affirmed: The federal appeals court affirmed the District Court against allegations by Leo Villarreal that trial errors occurred in his conviction on charges of sexual abuse at the Lone Hill residence in Manderson on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. See United States of America v. Leo Villarreal. Case No. 12-1831.  Filed February 22, 2013.

The Eighth Circuit Agrees on Dismissal of Religious Beliefs Dispute: The Eighth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit in Nebraska District Court in which an inmate contended that state commitments concerning Native American ceremonies and ceremonial items were not being kept. See Michael Joseph Sims v. Gary B. Randall; Don Kleine; Corey O’Brien; Jeffrey John Lux; George R. Love; Jon Bruning; Jill Lustgarten; Unknown #1; Unknown #2; Unknown#3. Case No. 12-3117. Filed February 14, 2013.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse Conviction Upheld: Although Douglas Wayne Tarnow, self-identified as Indian, said there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him of aggravated sexual abuse on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota, the Eighth Circuit upheld the District Court in affirming his conviction. See United States of America v. Douglas Wayne Tarnow. Case No. 12-1839.  Filed February 8, 2013.

Convictions of Child Sexual Abuse Upheld: The Eighth Circuit upheld a South Dakota District Court in affirming the conviction of Gilbert Oliver Crow Eagle Jr. on two counts each of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and abusive sexual contact, both charges involving two of his nieces and for which he was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment. See United States of America v. Gilbert Oliver Crow Eagle Jr., also known as Leonard Oliver. Case No. 12-2437. Filed January 30, 2013.

Ninth Circuit Court, San Francisco, California

District Court Reversed on Tribal Sovereign Immunity: The federal appeals court affirmed the District Court’s denial of qualified immunity to San Diego Sheriff’s Department deputies and reversed the District Court’s dismissal, on sovereign immunity grounds, of the Viejas Band Tribal Fire Department paramedics, in litigation brought by survivors of Kristin Marie Maxwell-Bruce, who was shot. See Jim Maxwell, individually and as guardian of Trevor Allen Bruce and Kelton Tanner Bruce; Kay Maxwell, individually and as guardian of Trevor Allen Bruce and Kelton Tanner Bruce; Jim Maxwell, as executor of the estate of Kristin Marie Maxwell-Bruce, v. County of San Diego; Alpine Fire Protection District; Viejas Fire Department; Lowell Bryan “Sam” Bruce, Deputy, et al. Case No. 10-56671. Filed February 14, 2013.

Federal Appeals Court Affirms Victim’s Incapacity: The Ninth Circuit affirmed the finding of Montana District Court that Edward Stamper, convicted by a jury of sexual abuse in Indian country, did not successfully challenge evidence that his victim was “physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in” the sexual act in question. See United States of America v. Edward Ronald Stamper. Case No. 12-30095. Filed February 6, 2013.

Ninth Circuit Upholds Interior and BLM over Mine: The federal appeals court affirmed the Arizona District Court’s judgment in favor of the Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in litigation challenging the decision to allow Denison Mines Corp. to restart mining operations at the Arizona 1 Mine.  See Center for Biological Diversity; Grand Canyon Trust; Sierra Club; Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians; Havasupai Tribe v. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior; United States Bureau of Land Management and Intervenor-Defendants-Appellees Denison Arizona Strip, LLC; Denison Mines (USA)Corp.  Case No. 11-17843. Filed February 4, 2013.

Tenth Circuit Court, Denver, Colorado

Circuit Court Affirms Decision on Embezzlement: The federal appeals court upheld a Wyoming District Court decision when Amanda Addison, on trial for embezzling or converting funds from the Department of Social Services, Northern Arapahoe Tribe, Wind River Reservation, Wyoming  objected to a declaration of mistrial for another defendant and disputed the evidence of criminal intent. See United States of America v. Amanda Addison, a/k/a Amanda Ortiz.  Case No. 11-8105. Filed February 26, 2013.

Self-professed Gambling Addict Loses in Court: The Tenth Circuit affirmed a ruling by the District Court for Northern Oklahoma dismissing a case brought by a “self-professed gambling addict,” who tried to sue the Muscogee (Creek) Nation over losses of $60,000 of student loan money he allegedly lost gambling. See Eddie Santana v. Muscogee (Creek) Nation, ex rel. River Spirit Casino. Case No. 12-5046. Filed February 5, 2013.


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U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal Roundup for February

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