Court calls for new trial in Kickapoo corruption case
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday lifted the convictions of three people who are accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Kickapoo Tribe of Texas.

In a unanimous opinion, the court said Judge Alia Ludlum should not have moved the trial of Isidro Garza Jr.; his wife, Martha; and his son, Timoteo. The trial was held in Waco, more than 300 miles from Eagle Pass, the city closest to the reservation where the Garzas worked.

"Defendants, their witnesses, and their counsel all reside in or around Eagle Pass or the tribe’s reservation," the court said. "The transfer to Waco required every interested party to travel more than three hundred miles to participate in the trial. Additionally, the transfer required defense counsel—those who chose not to withdraw due to financial hardship stemming from the transfer—to hold a multiple-day trial far from their practices."

Federal prosecutors plan to try the Garzas again. The Garzas are part of a group of non-Indian employees and advisers whom tribal members accused of stealing.

Get the Story:
Kickapoo case convictions overturned (The San Antonio Express-News 1/7)
Appeals Court Overturns Kickapoo Casino Conviction (AP 1/6)

5th Circuit Decision:
US v. Garza (January 5, 2010)