Ninth Circuit Reverses Major Crimes Act Conviction on Indian Status Grounds

Here is the opinion in United States v. Alvirez.

The court’s syllabus:

The panel reversed a conviction for assault resulting in serious bodily injury on an Indian reservation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153 and 113(a)(6), and remanded.

The panel held that the district court abused its discretion when it determined that a Certificate of Indian Blood offered into evidence by the government in order to establish Indian status, an essential element of § 1153, was a self-authenticating document under Fed. R. Evid. 902(1). The panel held that this error was not harmless.

The panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant’s motion in limine to exclude references to polygraph evidence, where the defendant, who elected not to present his multiple-interrogation defense as a legal strategy, was not denied the opportunity to present his defense.

The panel held that the district court cannot show plain error in the district court’s application of enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2A2.2 for infliction of permanent or life-threatening injury.

The panel held that double jeopardy does not bar retrial after reversal in this case because the erroneously-admitted Certificate of Indian Blood was nevertheless sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Briefs here.


This entry was posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Criminal, Research, tribal membership and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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