Supreme Court won't hear Indian man's jury bias case
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Benally v. US, a jury bias case involving a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

Kerry Dean Benally was convicted of assaulting a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer on the Utah portion of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. After the trial, a juror came forward and said other jurors -- including the foreman -- made racial comments about American Indians, alcohol and crime.

Juror Karen Cano testified that the foreman stated, "When Indians get alcohol, they all get drunk," the Associated Press reported in December 2007. Another juror asked "what would happen if we found him not guilty? What kind of message would we be sending back to the reservation?" according to Cano.

Based on the information, a federal judge ordered a new trial but the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. Benally asked for a rehearing but a majority of judges on the court rejected the request in March of this year.

Benally appealed to the Supreme Court and was backed by the National Congress of American Indians and a group of law professors. The justices, however, declined to hear the case without comment.

10th Circuit Decision:
US v. Benally (March 23, 2009)

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10th Circuit denies rehearing in Indian jury bias case (3/24)
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Ute man granted new trial based on jury bias (12/4)