Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Defendant, an Indian, was charged with brutally assaulting the victim in a town within the original boundaries of the Red Lake Indian Reservation. The district court denied defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment, concluding as a matter of law that the alleged assault occurred within the boundaries of the Reservation and therefore in "Indian country." The court concluded that the district court made its Indian country ruling on an inadequate record and remanded with directions to permit defendant to withdraw his guilty plea. Therefore, the court need not address defendant's additional contention that his sentence was substantively unreasonable. View "United States v. Jackson" on Justia Law

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These four adversary proceedings involved suits by Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees against the Lower Sioux Indian Community (the Tribe) and its subsidiary, Dakota Finance Corporation (together, Defendants). In three of the adversaries, the trustees pursued the Tribe and the debtors for turnover of ongoing tribal revenue payments owed to the debtors under the Tribe's ordinances and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In one of the adversaries, the trustee was seeking to avoid a lien asserted by Dakota Finance Corporation on the ongoing revenue payments owed to one debtor as being unperfected. Absent the filing of a bankruptcy case, the creditors of these debtors would be prohibited by the Tribe's sovereign immunity from, for example, garnishing those revenues. The issue here was whether the filing of bankruptcy by Tribe members serves to make the debtors' ongoing revenues from the tribe available to the respective trustees for the benefit of their creditors. The bankruptcy court held that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and dismissed the adversaries as to those parties. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court did not err in concluding that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and were, therefore, immune from these suits against them. View "Dietz v. Lower Sioux Indian Cmty." on Justia Law

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These four adversary proceedings involved suits by Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees against the Lower Sioux Indian Community (the Tribe) and its subsidiary, Dakota Finance Corporation (together, Defendants). In three of the adversaries, the trustees pursued the Tribe and the debtors for turnover of ongoing tribal revenue payments owed to the debtors under the Tribe's ordinances and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In one of the adversaries, the trustee was seeking to avoid a lien asserted by Dakota Finance Corporation on the ongoing revenue payments owed to one debtor as being unperfected. Absent the filing of a bankruptcy case, the creditors of these debtors would be prohibited by the Tribe's sovereign immunity from, for example, garnishing those revenues. The issue here was whether the filing of bankruptcy by Tribe members serves to make the debtors' ongoing revenues from the tribe available to the respective trustees for the benefit of their creditors. The bankruptcy court held that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and dismissed the adversaries as to those parties. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court did not err in concluding that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and were, therefore, immune from these suits against them. View "Bucher v. Dakota Fin. Corp." on Justia Law

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These four adversary proceedings involved suits by Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees against the Lower Sioux Indian Community (the Tribe) and its subsidiary, Dakota Finance Corporation (together, Defendants). In three of the adversaries, the trustees pursued the Tribe and the debtors for turnover of ongoing tribal revenue payments owed to the debtors under the Tribe's ordinances and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In one of the adversaries, the trustee was seeking to avoid a lien asserted by Dakota Finance Corporation on the ongoing revenue payments owed to one debtor as being unperfected. Absent the filing of a bankruptcy case, the creditors of these debtors would be prohibited by the Tribe's sovereign immunity from, for example, garnishing those revenues. The issue here was whether the filing of bankruptcy by Tribe members serves to make the debtors' ongoing revenues from the tribe available to the respective trustees for the benefit of their creditors. The bankruptcy court held that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and dismissed the adversaries as to those parties. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court did not err in concluding that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and were, therefore, immune from these suits against them. View "Bucher v. Dakota Fin. Corp." on Justia Law

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These four adversary proceedings involved suits by Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees against the Lower Sioux Indian Community (the Tribe) and its subsidiary, Dakota Finance Corporation (together, Defendants). In three of the adversaries, the trustees pursued the Tribe and the debtors for turnover of ongoing tribal revenue payments owed to the debtors under the Tribe's ordinances and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In one of the adversaries, the trustee was seeking to avoid a lien asserted by Dakota Finance Corporation on the ongoing revenue payments owed to one debtor as being unperfected. Absent the filing of a bankruptcy case, the creditors of these debtors would be prohibited by the Tribe's sovereign immunity from, for example, garnishing those revenues. At issue here was whether the filing of bankruptcy by Tribe members serves to make the debtors' ongoing revenues from the tribe available to the respective trustees for the benefit of their creditors. The bankruptcy court held that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and dismissed the adversaries as to those parties. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court did not err in concluding that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and were, therefore, immune from these suits against them. View "Bucher v. Dakota Fin. Corp." on Justia Law

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This case arose when the Yankton Sioux Tribe requested that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) acquire 39 acres of land located in Charles Mix County in trust for the tribe pursuant to section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act, 25 U.S.C. 465. The court held that the Secretary's decision to acquire the land was neither arbitrary nor capricious where the administrative record indicated that contrary to the county's assertions, the Secretary thoroughly considered all of the necessary factors when deciding to acquire the travel plaza in trust. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "County of Charles Mix v. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, et al." on Justia Law

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This case arose when Alltel sued a former senior vice president in the Eastern District of Arkansas, alleging that the vice president breached the terms of a Separation Agreement by, inter alia, assisting the Oglala Sioux Tribe in a tribal court lawsuit to enjoin Alltel from a proposed sale of assets that provided telecommunications services on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. At issue was whether tribal immunity barred enforcement of the subpoenas at issue. The court agreed with the Tribe that a third-party subpoena in private civil litigation was a "suit" for purposes of the Tribe's common law sovereign immunity. As that immunity had not been waived or abrogated, the court reversed. View "Alltel Communications, LLC v. Oglala Sioux Tribe, et al." on Justia Law

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The State challenged the Secretary's decision to accept four parcels of land within the geographic boundaries of the State into trust for the benefit of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, a federally recognized Indian tribe. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary and the State appealed. The court held that, because the State lacked standing to bring a constitutional due process claim and did not raise any additional arguments on appeal, the State was not entitled to relief. The court dismissed and did not reach the merits. View "State of South Dakota, et al. v. U.S. Dept. of Interior, et al." on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of second degree murder and the district court sentenced him to 576 months' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant challenged the substantive reasonableness of his sentence. The court held that the government failed to prove that defendant's appeal was barred by the waiver in his plea agreement. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion and imposed an unreasonable sentence by selecting a high but within-Guidelines sentence for a homicide offense. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "United States v. Boneshirt" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of second degree murder for the stabbing of a fourteen-year-old and assault with a dangerous weapon for the stabbing of a seventeen-year old in Indian country. On appeal, defendant argued that the district court erred in imposing mandatory minimum sentences under 18 U.S.C. 3559(f) because age was an element of the offense that must be found by the jury, and in denying her motions to suppress evidence and to sever counts of the indictment trial. The court held that the district court did not commit plain error in imposing the minimum thirty-year sentence for second degree murder of a child under the age of eighteen mandated by section 3559(f)(1) because the age provisions in section 3559(f) were sentencing factors. The court also held that, given the violent events of the night in question, the officer had probable cause to enter the parked, but highly mobile, vehicle without a warrant and to seize the weapons he observed inside. The court further held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied her motion to sever the murder and assault charges. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Brown" on Justia Law