9th Circuit ruling reduces long sentence for 'Indian' defendant

A decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could end up reducing a lengthy sentence for a member of the Gila River Indian Community of Arizona.

Damien Zepeda was sentenced to 90 years on several assault and firearms charges. But the 9th Circuit reversed all but one of the charges because the court said federal prosecutors failed to present evidece of Zepeda's "Indian" status to the jury.

The ruling, however, may not stand. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona plans to ask an en banc panel of the court rehear the case, Zepeda's lawyer told the Associated Press.

Get the Story:
Tribal status reduces sentence in assault case (AP 1/24)

9th Circuit Decision:
US v. Zepeda (January 18, 2013)

Related Stories:
9th Circuit reverses conviction over Indian status of defendant (1/21)

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