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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Indians get a day in court

The Supreme Court will hear an Indians rights case this fall that gives the 21st century a chance to correct a historic error.

Clayvin Herrera is a hunter who bagged an elk in 2014 in Wyoming’s Bighorn National Forest. The state government said that was against the law.

"A jury has convicted a Montana tribal game warden of poaching in northern Wyoming. After the jury in Sheridan returned its verdict Friday, Circuit Court Judge Shelley A. Cundiff sentenced Clayvin Herrera to one year of unsupervised probation and fined him $7,500," NBC News reported on April 29, 2016.

He is a member of the Crow Tribe.

"Herrera maintained the he thought he was on the Crow Reservation in Montana when he killed an antlered elk in January 2014. Prosecutors said the elk was taken about a mile inside Wyoming," NBC News reported.

He then appealed to the Wyoming state Supreme Court. His lawyers argued "the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty between signed by the Crow Tribe and the U.S. government granted tribal members the right to hunt on unoccupied lands that the tribe had ceded to the United States through the treaty, including large portions of Wyoming and Montana," U.S. News and World Report said.

The state court said no. His only appeal was directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco recommended the high court take up the case.

"This case affects numerous other tribes, as no fewer than 19 federal treaties protect the right to hunt on federal lands away from the respective reservations," Herrara's attorneys said.

Guess what? The justices agreed to hear the case.

"The Supreme Court receives about 7,000 requests to hear cases each year but agrees to review only about 80. Another 50 are decided without a hearing," the Billings Gazette reported.

Don't play poker with Herrera. He just hit an inside straight.


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  1. Four years. Lee Quince could’ve had this sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction in just under 30 minutes.

  2. Elk get quite vexed when nagged.

  3. LOL So vexxed they die

    I shall fix

  4. Joe Kidd: "Well, the deer didn't know where he was, and I wasn't so sure, either."

    - Elric

  5. That they took the case means at least four justices thought the case had merit.

  6. Maybe Senator Liawatha will pro bono represent the Indians.