Interesting Tenth Circuit Appeal on Confessions at Kewa Pueblo

Here are the materials in United States v. Aguilar:

Unpublished opinion

Aguilar Opening Brief

US Appellee Brief

Aguilar Reply

From the opinion, which in part dealt with a motion to suppress under the Fourth Amendment’s voluntariness requirement:

Aguilar argues his consent to the agents to enter his home and view the eagle feathers was involuntary when considering the totality of the circumstances. In particular, Aguilar argues the district court understated the significance of his belief that the agents were acting under the authority of the Pueblo Governor, whom, he argues, he was bound to obey according to Pueblo custom and tradition. In response, the government argues Aguilar’s subjective beliefs are irrelevant to the issue of voluntariness of consent insofar as there is no indication the agents were aware of or took advantage of them.


The district court arrived at this finding by noting that, prior to the agents’ arrival, Aguilar had already spoken with the Governor about his having killed eagles on tribal land. From this, the court found it was possible Aguilar thought the Governor informed the USFWS about his killing of eagles, but that it was equally likely Aguilar considered the matter to have been resolved to the Governor’s satisfaction during their meeting.