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Federal appeals court allows prosecution of non-Navajo by tribe

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] has ruled [PDF opinion] that a Navajo tribal court can proceed with its prosecution of Russell Means even though he is not a member of the tribe. Means, a member of the Ogala-Sioux tribe, was charged with misdemeanors under the Navajo Code for threatening and battering his father-in-law and another man when he visited the Navajo reservation in 1997. Means argued that Navajo courts could not prosecute him because he was not a member of the tribe, but the Ninth Circuit disagreed, ruling that under 1990 amendments to the Indian Civil Rights Act [text], the Navajo Nation [official website] "is empowered ... to prosecute and punish Indians for misdemeanors, despite their status as nonmembers of the tribe." AP has more.

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