A long-term prisoner was out of confinement only three months before he accumulated five violations for marijuana and prescription drug use and several drug-related offenses, according to United States of America v. Vincent Bad Heart Bull, filed in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals March 14, 2012.
The final violation that led to a new sentence for Bad Heart Bull, Lakota, involved a taunt by some young children that he was a “drunken Indian,” the court said, and specifically his response—trying to “slap them away”—after, he contended, they “grabbed at him.”
However, “a 10-year-old girl told the police that a drunk man, whom she later identified as Bad Heart Bull, banged on the door and window of her dance class building, frightening her, and later tried to grab her as she waited outside for her mother to pick her up.”
He admitted to slapping at the girls who were touching his coat, but not to the more serious allegation of trying to grab a child, according to the court record. He served 30 days in jail and six months’ probation on a state charge concerning alcohol use and unlawful contact in 2011.
However, in federal court, where Bad Heart Bull had received a 15-year sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act and had then violated the conditions of his release, he was sentenced in 2011 to two years’ imprisonment and a new three-year term of supervised release, to include six months in an inpatient treatment facility. He unsuccessfully challenged the sentence on grounds it was unreasonably long.
Noting that Bad Heart Bull had “a long history of alcohol abuse and had spent 33 of the last 37 years in prison,” the lower court recommended that he participate in a drug treatment while in prison and a residential rehabilitation program after release.
The court pointed out Bad Heart Bull’s earlier rejection of an opportunity to stay in a residential treatment program: “There’s no taunting little girl to blame for this. This—is an opportunity you had and you messed it up.”
The 10th Circuit upheld the sentence that had been imposed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming for violation of conditions of release.