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The Case Of Leonard Peltier

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  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1707
  • Category: Violence

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Leonard Peltier was an American Indian Movement Leader who was seldom convicted to charges of Murder. This was in liaison with his accusation of shooting two agents of the FBI at the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1975. However, the same murder conviction sounded a mere American political imprisonment. To others however, they regarded Peltier as a very brutal killer who deserved murder conviction by the government or elsewhere serve life imprisonment in the jail. However, president Clinton disappointed the supporters of Peltier during his final days in his presidential administration when he refused to issue a pardon to Peltier towards his charge. The shooting conviction to Peltier saw him get imprisoned in which he has served more than 30 years in prison.

History has it that, the starting point in the political violence in Pine Ridge Indian Reservation started in 1973 after the occupation of the Wounded Knee. This violence lasted for three years. The ridding towards the America Indian Movement (AIM) was censored by hiring of vigilantes by the existing tribal Chairman. These vigilantes had the title of “GOONS”. During the course of this violence many AIM members and traditional members from the tribe were murdered which was coupled with various scores of assaults. According to evidence predictions, the GOONS were responsible for most of the crimes. However, due to the presence of many FBI’s, there was primarily nothing done as stoppage to this violence. The present members of the FBI were actively involved in intelligence about the AIM Members. Elsewhere, the FBI did not respond appropriately even when the GOONS continued to commit war crimes.

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At this time of the violence, Peltier was AIM Leader. He got request from Pine Ridge on the protection and support of the targeted traditional people in the violence. Two agents allied to the FBI were shot dead. Though two victims were arrested in connection with the same (Butter and Robideao), They were freed on an argument of self-defense during the fire bullet exchange. However, Leonard Peltier was hitherto arrested on 6th February 1976. This was in company of Frank Delvca and Frank Blackhorse.  According to the evidence brought forward by Myrtle Poor about Peltier’s shoot-out, a Canadian court for the murder convicted him. In 1977, Judge Paul Benson tried Peltier in the U.S at North Dakota. According to Myrtle Poor who used to be Peltier’s Girlfriend, she allegedly signed affidavits that she had seen Peltier shoot the two FBI members. Also, according to another FBI agent testimonial, the AIM agents who included Peltier had followed up the two FBI members until the tragedy was mentioned. During the trial activity, the prosecuting U.S Attorney was claiming that the US government was providing enough defenses in regard to the most adequate FBI documents that concerned the case. However, there were many pages of defense held by the government. (Ward, 2003, 1)

In another testimonial, a certain ballistic to the FBI expert also testified that there was a casing that was near the dead agents bodies, which had a good match to the gun allied to Peltier. On the same note however, there was an intentional concealment on the ballistic test prove that the specific casing was not allied to Peltier. From The understatement of the various forms of the evidence brought out, the US Jury even while unaware of such kind of aforementioned facts found Peltier guilty. Hereby, judge Benson into a two consecutive periods of life sentence, made the sentence to Peltier.

However, important information that was gotten from Freedom of   Information Act on lawsuit provided Peltier with the authority of filing down another new trial. According to the ruling by the Eighth Circuit, the Jury had probably acquitted the correspondents of Leonard Peltier if the nature of data and also records that established Peltiers guiltiness concurred with an improper withholding. Consequently, the set of defense that was provided for the freedom of Peltier was perhaps compromised on grounds of legal rationality. Such a situation had hitherto denied Peltier the chance of exploring and also reinforcing the broad array of judicial inconsistencies that marred in Peltier’s case. However, despite this development, Peltier was denied such another trial.

In a    confession about the incident by Mr. Peltier in an oral argument   by the government, its attorney however conceded on the un-awareness of the government in not knowing exactly who was behind the agents shooting. However, he suggested that Peltier was equally well guilty irrespective of whether having shot the two agents within a close and open range or even whether he implicatively participated within the general context of the incidence even when from a longer distance.  (Ward, 2003, 2) It was noted that, his co-defendants were acquitted through shoot-out of the agents from a distance. Though he has been behind the bars for more than 30 years, Peltier has however continued in receiving many awards by human rights commission in regard to he broad autonomy of good deeds he posses.

The historical background of the traditional people from   Lakota has an   opposition to the lease and sale of reservation land for the purpose of mining activities. However, the trial government in Lakota that had Richard Wilson as its leader had got a lot of support from the US government due to its provision towards mining of Uranium. Consequently, such opposition by the   traditional people from Lakota implied application of violence to stop acts towards opposing the lease and the sale of such reservation lands. This had even led to the death of more than 60 members of the AIM movement in violence against this exploitation. Consequently, the AIM got a summon to Pine Ridge Reservation in regard to protecting the traditional people from Lakota. Elsewhere, the tribal police got a lot of support from the FBI through training activities and supporting them with weapons. The FBI adequate knowledge about the nature of assault weapons was at a good stand of supplying enough intelligence in regard to the AIM and the broad outlay of its supports. This nature of diversity in knowledge strength between the two opposing groups remarkably led to the growth of tensions.

The snailing incidence of the shooting of two FBI agents was on 26th June 1975 when they were driving along the highway with unidentified cars towards the Pine Ridge Reservations within the South Dakota. However, the two agents and another man were caught up in the shoot-out incidence. Though the death of the other man has not welcomed any investigations to date, the death of two FBI agents went up into a fast legal   investigation to cultivate towards promissory evidence about the killing.  The start of the investigation saw four persons chosen from the list of the twenty participants to wage a lucrative investigation support relating the incident.

Consequently Jimmy Eagle, Dinno Butter, Leonard Peltier and Blob Robideao were cautiously entrenched into the investigation activity. However,  Butter and Robideao got an  apprehension  which  gave room for Peltier and Eagle to participate in  the trial . Their apprehension was due to  te  freedom from guilty  both Butter and Robideao had through their  self defenses. In the case, the shooting resulted from hostile invasion by armed forces of the paramilitary group in the defense against the severeignity of the Pine Ridge Reservation which provided no business nor any form of jurisdiction  to the FBI. Though their death was unfortunate, the Jury found out that the same had adequate prediction in response to the then existing tension over the land.

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            Consequently, Jimmy Eagle was freed a condition that provided a full force application of prosecutive weight in regard to the actions of Peltier. However, Peltier had left for Canada before the trial of both Butter and Robideao. This provided complication into the process as the government was made to get concrete extradition about the incidence before bringing Peltier in another trial.

In his trial at the new venue in Fargo at the North Dakota, the process of Peltier’s trial went across in an admissive manner to plough out the most concrete data. The same also meant murder weapon fabrication, which was sought as an attempt towards gaining enough conviction. However, in admission and prove from the exculpatory evidence which showed that whatever shell casing that were in use by the government had no congruent match to the kind of weapon whose attribute was to Peltier as well the death of those agents. However, peltier was incarcerated behind the bars in 1977 in the conviction of two Murder count alleging for the FBI agents. (Ward, 2003, 4)

The incidence in second trial is what found Peltier guilty after a last minute change of the Jury judge from the former McManus to Benson. Benson had presided over the incidence acquittals in Cedar Rapids that saw the other three culprits get freedom. Elsewhere, the site for the trial was also changed from Cedar Rapids to Fargo at North Dakota. The Changing setup in regard to both the Judge and place of trial is the basic ideology that brought Peltier to being guilty. According to the second trial at the Fargo, whatever evidence which was legally admissible in the trial at Cedar was however not admissible in the trial at the court of the North Dakota.  The Second trial saw flourishing evidence about the incidence, which would not give Peltier an encounter for escape of not been guilty. The court hearing was provided with the wide scope of evidence on the Peltier participation towards the killing. Amongst this were his girlfriend Myrtle Poor who allegedly evidenced that she had seen him shoot the two agents. Either since the eruption of the violence was between the AIM group, which was lead by Leonard Peltier and the FBI, evidence showed that Peltier was responsible for the shooting and therefore the summons of the second trial found him guilty.

Work cited.

Leonard Peltier Case Facts. Retrieved on 25th April 2008 from C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Desktop\Leonard Peltier Case Facts.htm

Ward Churchill (2003) Agents and Repression. Withstanding the Test of Time. Social Justice, Vol.30

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