US Cert Opposition Brief in Zepeda


US Cert Opp Brief

An excerpt:

Petitioner contends (Pet. 11-22) that the Ninth Circuit’s definition of an “Indian” for purposes of 18 U.S.C. 1153 violates equal protection. Petitioner further asserts (Pet. 22-23) that the Ninth Circuit’s decision conflicts with a decision from the Utah Supreme Court. Those claims lack merit. The court of appeals’ decision – which follows this Court’s precedent – is fully consistent with the Constitution, and no conflict exists on the question presented. Moreover, this case would be a poor vehicle to consider the meaning of “Indian” in Section 1153 because petitioner qualifies under any conceivable definition, including the one he proposes. Further review is not warranted.

Cert petition is here.

Zepeda v. United States Cert Petition


Zepeda Cert Petition

Questions presented:

The Indian Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1153, makes it a federal crime for an “Indian” to commit any one of thirteen enumerated acts in “Indian country.” In this case, the en banc Ninth Circuit held that an element of the offense in prosecutions under this statute is proof that the defendant has “Indian blood,” whether or not that blood tie is to a federally recognized tribe. The question presented is:
Whether, as construed by the Ninth Circuit, Section 1153 impermissibly discriminates on the basis of race.
Opinion here. En banc materials here, here, and here. Panel materials and other materials here, here, and here.