Tenth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of ICRA Habeas Petition for Failure to Exhaust Tribal Remedies

Here are the materials in Valenzuela v. Silversmith, arising out of the Tohono O’odham Nation courts:

CA10 Opinion

Valenzuela Opening Brief

TON Answer Brief

Warden Answer Brief

Valenzuela Reply Brief

An excerpt:

Alvin Valenzuela, an enrolled member of the Tohono O’odham Nation (the “Nation”), through counsel, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 1303 seeking relief from tribal court convictions and his sentence. While Mr. Valenzuela’s petition was pending in federal district court, he completed his sentence and was released from prison. The district court concluded that Mr. Valenzuela’s claims were moot because of his release. Alternatively, it concluded that Mr. Valenzuela had failed to exhaust his tribal remedies before seeking habeas relief in federal court. Based on these alternative grounds, the district court dismissed Mr. Valenzuela’s § 1303 petition. Exercising jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm on the ground that Mr. Valenzuela failed to exhaust his tribal court remedies and remand for the district court to dismiss his § 1303 petition without prejudice.

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