A view of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Photo from Rosebud Sioux Tribe
A non-Indian man was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison for once again violating a banishment order issued by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. Steven Nichols, 44, pleaded guilty to criminal trespass on April 28. The admission of guilt marked the fourth time since 2013 that he has violated the tribe's order, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a press release. The back-and-forth started after Nichols was convicted in federal court in June 2011 for assaulting his girlfriend, who is a tribal member. The tribe's court issued a banishment order and the tribal council voted to exclude him that same month. The latest incident stems from a criminal trespass on the reservation in January. He had been on work release from his prior sentence at the time. Despite his repeated violations, Nichols can only be sentenced to 12 months at a time, the maximum under federal law. It's possible he could face tribal punishment under the Violence Against Women Act if he commits another domestic offense on the reservation. During his criminal case last year, Nichols sought to dismiss the indictment by questioning the tribe's jurisdiction over him. The judge refused to grant the request, according to documents posted by Turtle Talk.
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