Federal Court Grants Habeas Petition in Consecutive Sentences Case

Interesting case involving whether the Tribal Law and Order Act can be retroactively applied to a Gila River Indian Community conviction. Here are the materials in Johnson v. Tracy (D. Ariz.):

Johnson Habeas Petition

GRIC Response to Petition

R&R Recommending Denial of Writ

Federal Defenders Amicus Brief

GRIC Response to Amicus Brief

DCT Order Rejecting R&R

Top Ten Indian Law Stories of 2010

Based on numbers of hits, and a nice review of the year, here is the First Top Ten Indian Law Stories of the Year:

  1. Wells Fargo v. Lake of the Torches EDC. The effort by the bank to force Lac du Flambeau to pay its obligations had been shut down by the conclusion of a federal court that the trust indenture was a gaming management contract. A Seventh Circuit appeal was briefed and argued, and is pending. Posts are here and here.
  2. Tribal Law and Order Act. Congress finally passed a piece of legislation geared at dealing with a national problem — the incredible rise of violent crime in Indian Country, and most especially violence against Indian women. Top posts are here and here.
  3. Challenges to the PACT Act. Congress’s effort to destroy what remains of Indian country tobacco sales over the internet was initially enjoined, but that injunction was lifted. The cases are now pending in the Second Circuit. Top posts here and here.
  4. Gun Lake Band Casino news. The Gun Lake Band finally began construction on its casino after more than a decade of legal challenges, only to face a difficult financing market. Posts are here and here.
  5. Bay Mills Indian Community opens casino in Vanderbilt, MI on fee land. Would probably be number 1 or 2 if it happened earlier in the year. Posts here and here.
  6. Chief Justice Roberts dissent in North Carolina v. South Carolina. Mountain out of a molehill? Maybe, but still…. Post here.
  7. Bloomberg report on Foxwoods default. Old news, but continuing to be important. Post here.
  8. Elena Kagan Appointment to Supreme Court. Plenty of speculation here on her (lack of an) Indian law record. Top posts here and here.
  9. Supreme Court 2010 October Term Preview. Here.
  10. Possible Keith Harper Appointment to Tenth Circuit. Here.

Honorable mentions include the indictment of former Sault Ste. Marie tribal official Fred Paquin; Walter Echohawk’s new book; federal court challenges to consecutive sentences by tribal courts; the Saginaw Chippewa reservation boundaries settlement, and the passing of Phil Frickey.

Update (2:30 PM): Obviously, as Alex Skibine noted in the comments section, the Cobell settlement was a huge story for the year, while probably happening too late in the year to generate enough hits to make the top ten list. Same goes for President Obama’s announcement of support for the UN DRIP.

Opening Brief in Second Ninth Circuit Tribal Court Consecutive Sentencing Case

The case is Bustamante v. Valenzuela. And the brief: Appellant’s Opening Brief 9th Cir.100910

Lower court materials are here.

Opening Ninth Circuit Brief in Miranda v. Nielson — Consecutive Sentencing Case

Here:

Miranda 9th Cir. Appellants Brief Final as Filed

Miranda 9th Cir. Addendum to Appellants Brief as filed

Lower court materials here.