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9th Circuit to rehear case over defendant's 'Indian' status





The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to rehear a dispute over a criminal defendant's "Indian" status.

Damien Zepeda possesses a "Certificate of Enrollment" from the Gila River Indian Community, a federally recognized tribe in Arizona. It states that he has 1/4 "Pima" and 1/2 "Tohono O’odham" blood.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit, however, said federal prosecutors failed to show that Zepeda's Indian blood comes from a federally-recognized tribe. Neither "Pima" nor "Tohono O’Odham" appear on the list of federally recognized tribes, the court said in September 2013.

That ruling, however, will be reconsidered at the request of the Obama administration. The 9th Circuit issued a brief order on Monday that said the case will heard by an en banc panel of judges.

Turtle Talk has posted briefs from the case, US v. Zepeda.

Get the Story:
Federal appeals court to rehear case on Indian status (AP 2/11)
AZ Shooter's Bloodline Faces En Banc Scrutiny (Courthouse News Service 2/11)

Prior 9th Circuit Decision:
US v. Zepeda (September 19, 2013)

Related Stories:
9th Circuit determines defendant doesn't meet 'Indian' status (9/20)