Judge orders release of Indian man who was sentenced by tribe
A federal judge has ordered the immediate release of a man from Kewa Pueblo whose tribal court sentence violated the Indian Civil Rights Act.

On September 4, 2009, Amidooli Pacheco was sentenced to two years in prison on five charges. He was immediately taken into custody and he has been held in a private jail off the reservation.

But the punishment violated ICRA, which limits tribal court sentences to one year. Judge Robert C. Brack ordered Pacheco's release in a decision filed today.

"The Court finds that Petitioner has made a prima facie showing that the Tribal Court imposed a sentence in excess of the statutory maximum under the Indian Civil Rights Act," Brack wrote in his order.

Brack noted that the tribe did not respond to Pacheco's attempt to gain release.

The new Tribal Law and Order Act allows tribes to impose sentences of up to three years under certain conditions.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Pacheco v. Massengill.