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Archive for Thursday, April 25, 1991

APPEAL IN TAX-STAMP CASE BASED ON INDIAN TREATIES

April 25, 1991

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A Johnson County man convicted last year of selling cigarettes without state tax stamps has appealed his case to U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., on the grounds that courts have no jurisdiction over his activities on an Indian reservation.

He also is arguing that his civil rights were violated by the state's failure to abide by an 1831 treaty with the Shawnee Indians.

Jimmie D. Oyler, who operated Shawnee Jim's Smoke Shop in unincorporated Johnson County, is 1/32 Shawnee Indian and is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation.

Oyler, who resides on Shawnee Reserve 206 near DeSoto, last Thursday filed the appeal of his April 1990 conviction in Johnson County District Court, which convicted him of selling cigarettes without tax stamps and sentenced him to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,250.

THE KANSAS Court of Appeals upheld that decision in December 1990 when it ruled that the state had authority to tax the sale of cigarettes sold on Indian reservations to non-tribal members and non-Indians.

He supports his appeal to U.S. District Court with an 1817 U.S. treaty that said Indian land would not be liable to taxes, an 1825 U.S. treaty with Missouri Shawnee regarding the handing down of Indian land, and the 1831 U.S. treaty with the Ohio Shawnee that said Indian lands would never be considered within the bounds of any state or territory.

He was arrested on Dec. 2, 1989, after agents of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation purchased three cartons of cigarettes from his shop, which is on Shawnee Reserve 206. The cigarettes did not carry tax stamps and the agents were not charged sales tax.

IN AFFIRMING the rulings of the Johnson County District Court, the Court of Appeals said Kansas had criminal jurisdiction over all Indians in the state. It also upheld the state's right to confiscate cigarettes.

"The state of Kansas has jurisdiction to tax the sale of cigarettes sold on reservation land to non-tribal members and non-Indians," the court wrote.

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