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If Only the Government Had Respected Its Own Laws... I Am Barack Obama's Political Prisoner Now


Having just finished reading Black Elk Speaks, Leonard Peltier's recent letter brings the plight of Native Americans over the last two centuries into present focus. Someone reading the 1932 classic today might easily believe that while it is a tragic tale of America's bitter origins, it is a story firmly rooted in a past that we have long moved on from. This view, sadly, would be mistaken. As Peltier states in his letter, Barack Obama must now take on the burden of covering up the mistreatment and oppression of present-day natives.

Pardoning Peltier today would admit that the government was wrong, and would expose past and present wrong-doings of this government that would be far too costly, politically, for the establishment to bear. The case of Leonard Peltier is one more thread in the weave that, if pulled in too many places, would unravel the whole faux legitimacy of American empire, and the colonialism that it is based on.

It was with added depth that I read Peltier's signing off statement, "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse." As I learned in Black Elk Speaks, Crazy Horse was a brave and uncompromising man who was fearless in his struggle to bring freedom for his people. He was a skilled fighter, and, as Black Elk said, no Wasichus (white people) could ever kill him in a fight. He was never wounded in battle his whole life.

As Black Elk tells it, "They could not have killed him in battle. They had to lie to him and murder him. And he was only about thirty years old when he died."

Again, I see parallels to the present day, where the government cannot face Peltier on just and even terms, but must hide behind the clout and legal jargon of the American judicial system, miring his case in legal battle after legal battle to keep the truth (and Peltier himself) from ever becoming free.

Without further introduction, below is Peltier's letter to his supporters after being denied parole after 33 years of incarceration, despite the fact that the Parole Commission "recognizes that the prosecution has conceded the lack of any direct evidence that [Peltier] personally participated in the executions of the two FBI agents." Ah, justice in America... - Tim

• • •

If Only the Government Had Respected Its Own Laws...I Am Barack Obama's Political Prisoner Now


The United States Department of Justice has once again made a mockery of its lofty and pretentious title.

After releasing an original and continuing disciple of death cult leader Charles Manson (sic - Lynette Squeaky Fromme) who attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford, an admitted Croatian terrorist, and another attempted assassin of President Ford under the mandatory 30-year parole law, the U.S. Parole Commission deemed that my release would "promote disrespect for the law."

If only the federal government would have respected its own laws, not to mention the treaties that are, under the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land, I would never have been convicted nor forced to spend more than half my life in captivity. Not to mention the fact that every law in this country was created without the consent of Native peoples and is applied unequally at our expense. If nothing else, my experience should raise serious questions about the FBI's supposed jurisdiction in Indian Country.

The parole commission's phrase was lifted from soon-to-be former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, who apparently hopes to ride with the FBI cavalry into the office of North Dakota governor. In this Wrigley is following in the footsteps of William Janklow, who built his political career on his reputation as an Indian fighter, moving on up from tribal attorney (and alleged rapist of a Native minor) to state attorney general, South Dakota governor, and U.S. Congressman. Some might recall that Janklow claimed responsibility for dissuading President Clinton from pardoning me before he was convicted of manslaughter. Janklow's historical predecessor, George Armstrong Custer, similarly hoped that a glorious massacre of the Sioux would propel him to the White House, and we all know what happened to him.

Unlike the barbarians that bay for my blood in the corridors of power, however, Native people are true humanitarians who pray for our enemies. Yet we must be realistic enough to organize for our own freedom and equality as nations. We constitute 5% of the population of North Dakota and 10% of South Dakota and we could utilize that influence to promote our own power on the reservations, where our focus should be. If we organized as a voting bloc, we could defeat the entire premise of the competition between the Dakotas as to which is the most racist. In the 1970s we were forced to take up arms to affirm our right to survival and self-defense, but today the war is one of ideas. We must now stand up to armed oppression and colonization with our bodies and our minds. International law is on our side.

Given the complexion of the three recent federal parolees, it might seem that my greatest crime was being Indian. But the truth is that my gravest offense is my innocence. In Iran, political prisoners are occasionally released if they confess to the ridiculous charges on which they are dragged into court, in order to discredit and intimidate them and other like-minded citizens. The FBI and its mouthpieces have suggested the same, as did the parole commission in 1993, when it ruled that my refusal to confess was grounds for denial of parole.

To claim innocence is to suggest that the government is wrong, if not guilty itself. The American judicial system is set up so that the defendant is not punished for the crime itself, but for refusing to accept whatever plea arrangement is offered and for daring to compel the judicial system to grant the accused the right to rebut the charges leveled by the state in an actual trial. Such insolence is punished invariably with prosecution requests for the steepest possible sentence, if not an upward departure from sentencing guidelines that are being gradually discarded, along with the possibility of parole.

As much as non-Natives might hate Indians, we are all in the same boat. To attempt to emulate this system in tribal government is pitiful, to say the least.

It was only this year, in the Troy Davis, case, that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized innocence as a legitimate legal defense. Like the witnesses that were coerced into testifying against me, those that testified against Davis renounced their statements, yet Davis was very nearly put to death. I might have been executed myself by now, had not the government of Canada required a waiver of the death penalty as a condition of extradition.

The old order is aptly represented by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who stated in his dissenting opinion in the Davis case, "This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is 'actually' innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged 'actual innocence' is constitutionally cognizable."

The esteemed Senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan, who is now the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, used much the same reasoning in writing that "our legal system has found Leonard Peltier guilty of the crime for which he was charged. I have reviewed the material from the trial, and I believe the verdict was fair and just."

It is a bizarre and incomprehensible statement to Natives, as well it should be, that innocence and guilt is a mere legal status, not necessarily rooted in material fact. It is a truism that all political prisoners were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged.

The truth is the government wants me to falsely confess in order to validate a rather sloppy frame-up operation, one whose exposure would open the door to an investigation of the United States' role in training and equipping goon squads to suppress a grassroots movement on Pine Ridge against a puppet dictatorship.

In America, there can by definition be no political prisoners, only those duly judged guilty in a court of law. It is deemed too controversial to even publicly contemplate that the federal government might fabricate and suppress evidence to defeat those deemed political enemies. But it is a demonstrable fact at every stage of my case.

I am Barack Obama's political prisoner now, and I hope and pray that he will adhere to the ideals that impelled him to run for president. But as Obama himself would acknowledge, if we are expecting him to solve our problems, we missed the point of his campaign. Only by organizing in our own communities and pressuring our supposed leaders can we bring about the changes that we all so desperately need. Please support the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee in our effort to hold the United States government to its own words.

I thank you all who have stood by me all these years, but to name anyone would be to exclude many more. We must never lose hope in our struggle for freedom.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

There are several indigenous-related films on filmsforaction.org.


Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

Robert Redford presented an excellent take on Leonard's case. I will always be blown away that all this started with a pair of boots. I have hoped for some time Leonard would one day win this battle but I fear he will not make it to another parole hearing. He will be free one day though and it won't be on the white man's terms. Like Sitting Bull his dance will never be forgotton.

jamessimon500 8 years, 3 months ago

Robert Redford's documentary has been shown to be full of falsehoods and distortions, such as Peltier's supposed alibi, Mr. X. Don't be fooled by the propganda. The fact is, Peltier was recently refused parole because he refuses to take responsibility for his role in the execution-style murders of two FBI agents in 1975. As his 1993 parole board concluded, "Although the above evidence is consistent with your having, while at the scene of the murders, aided and abetted the use of the above-mentioned AR-15 rifle by another individual to execute the agents, the Commission is persuaded that the greater probability is that you yourself fired the fatal shots… It would be unjust to treat the slaying of these F.B.I. agents, while they lay wounded and helpless, as if your actions had been part of a gun battle. Neither the state of relations between Native American militants and law enforcement at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation prior to June 26, 1975, nor the exchanges of gunfire between individuals at the Jumping Bull Compound and the law enforcement agents who arrived there during the hours after Agents Coler and Williams were murdered, explains or mitigates the crimes you committed… Your release on parole would promote disrespect for the law in contravention of 18 U.S.C...."

Practicality 8 years, 3 months ago

"The fact is, Peltier was recently refused parole because he refuses to take responsibility for his role in the execution-style murders of two FBI agents in 1975. "

Exactly. Well said james. It was and is not farfetched to believe that a self-proclaimed warrior, who already had numerous violent altercations with the FBI prior to this, committed the murders. As for the lack of direct evidence, there are plenty of convicted murderers currently behind bars when a body has yet to be discovered, which seems more of a lack of direct evidence than anything, yet it does not make them innocent.

Lastly, please do not compare a holey man, such as Black Elk, to Leonard Peltier, for I believe that does a grave disservice to Black Elk Their life experiences and how they conducted themselves in this world were entirely different. About the only simmilarities between the two were that they were both Lakota.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

The feds were totally out of line at Waco too. David K was a very messed up person but there were innocents killed there who did not deserve to die including children.

The FBI had no right to be on the reservation to begin with. Once they entered the resevation there was alot of confusion as to what was happening. I suppose if two armed men entered your property and started shooting you whould just stand there? I doubt it. All of this started because two people went into town and stole a pair of boots. How many times have you seen merchants chase down and start shooting at a shoplifter? The agents were looking for a fight and they got what they came for. Still there is no proof that Leonard fired the fatal shots. This was pinned on Leonard because he was vocal about the oppression of his people. The same can be said about the unwarranted killings of many native people in history.

Practicality 8 years, 3 months ago

"This was pinned on Leonard because he was vocal about the oppression of his people."

There were many, many, MANY people just as vocal about the same things Leonard was, even the self-proclaimed leaders of AIM who were all in the vicinity. Why do you think Leonard was singled out when it would have been a bigger blow to the movement to pin it on one of them?

By your logic, if someone is murdered somewhere, and there aren't any witnesses to the killing (because they are dead) then no one can be found guilty of the crime,because there isn't any 'direct evidence'. Or maybe you think the FBI agents killed eachother?

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

Just in case the indian haters aren't aware Leonard has been nominated 6 times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Look it up.

Practicality 8 years, 3 months ago

Not liking Leonard does not make one an 'indian hater'. It only makes one a convicted murderer hater. Nice try on the race baiting though.

Other 'notable' Nobel Peace Prize nominees.

Adolf Hitler Joseph Stalin Mussolini George W. Bush Barrack Obama (Actual Winner if you can believe that)

Qualified Nominators The right to submit proposals for the Nobel Peace Prize shall, by statute, be enjoyed by:

  1. Members of national assemblies and governments of states;
  2. Members of international courts;
  3. University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes;
  4. Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;
  5. Board members of organizations who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;
  6. Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1) and
  7. Former advisers appointed by the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

The Nobel Peace Prize may also be awarded to institutions and associations.


As you can plainly see, any nutjob professor, of which there are thousands, can nominate anyone. So it is hardly that remarkable to be nominated, and likely he was nominated by the same person each year. Again, nice try though.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

Ah but you apply that blanket racism to Marion when he blasts Obama. So which it? Please explain the fine line between who is racist and who is not.

puddleglum 8 years, 3 months ago

Crazy Horse was killed by native americans, not whites.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

And Sitting Bull was killed by white men for participating in the Ghost Dance.

Practicality 8 years, 3 months ago

I have not accused Marion of being racist. I have no idea if he is or isn't. You have equated not liking or supporting Leonard Peltier with hating Native Americans, which is as ridiculous as most of what you espouse about Leonard. Especially the part about being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. It is becoming apparent you know not of what you speak. I think you just believe it is cool to support Leonard Peltier.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

You have and you do make accusations of racism feel free to stay in your denial. I have grown up supporting Leonard. I have my mother to thank for that. Shows how much you know. Bet you are really confused now. Do the math.

Practicality 8 years, 3 months ago

So if your mother supported the Nazi party would you defend them as well? Or, how about Charles Manson? Plenty of the old hippies supported him at one time as well. Does that mean that their kids should as well? Try thinking for yourself artichoke.

The only thing I am confused about is your statement "Do the math". What on earth do you mean by that, and what does that proove? Are you saying because you are an adult now (presuming of course) that you have been supporting Leonard for years and that somehow makes your arguments correct?

You have not refuted anything I said nor NavyVet (Nice post Navy). Yet you continue to write posts on here. For someone who has supported Leonard their entire life, I would think you would have better arguments.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

What is your point? Nazis and Charles Manson have nothing to do with Leonard's case. Are you aware that even the prosecutor says no one knows who killed the agents. Thre was a very good article in The Smithsonian Magazine several years ago. Why don't you look that up. Or does the Smithsonian lie too?

I wish Dena would comment on this she knows me, my mom & she was on Leonard's defense commitee while it was here in Lawrence.

Practicality 8 years, 3 months ago

You mean the same defense commitee that has not been able to proove innocense in 34 years in a court of law, nor been able to procure a pardon from 5 different presidents to include ultra liberal humanitarian Jimmy Carter and outgoing Bill Clinton, who hadn't any reservation about pardoning anyone on his way out of the White House? I wonder why that is artichoke?

I see the point about the Nazis and Manson went over your head, so I will simplify it for you. Just because your parents supported someone, does not mean their support is warranted, nor does that mean their childrens arguments concerning the topic are valid.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

It is clear you are not really about Leonard. What is it that you really take issue with? You may want to read Marion's two post before yours.

Practicality 8 years, 3 months ago

All of the cases heard and tried in court that determined Leonard Peltier's guilt in the murder of two FBI agents.

Legal Background Information

  1. USA v. Leonard Peltier U.S. District Court, Fargo, North Dakota Trial (March 14-April 18, 1977)

Peltier is convicted after a jury trial and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murder of FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams.

  1. USA v. Peltier, Appellant U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit 585 F.2d 314, 1978

  2. Peltier v. United States 440 U.S. 945 (1979)

  3. USA v. Peltier US District Court, District of North Dakota 553 F. Supp. 886, 1982 (December 29, 1982)

  4. USA v. Peltier US District Court, District of North Dakota 553 F. Supp 890, 1982 (December 30, 1982)

  5. USA v. Peltier, Appellant U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit 731 F.2d 550, 1984

  6. USA v. Leonard Peltier U.S. District Court, Bismark, North Dakota Evidentiary Hearing (October 1-3, 1984)

  7. USA v. Leonard Peltier U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota 609 F. Supp. 1143, 1985 (May 22, 1985)

  8. USA v. Leonard Peltier U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit 800 F. 2d 772, 21 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (September 11, 1986)

  9. Peltier v. United States 484 U.S. 822 (1987)

  10. Peltier v. Henman U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit 997 F.2d 461, 1993 U.S. App. (July 7, 1993)

  11. Peltier v. United States 515 U.S. 1188, 132, L.Ed. 2d 918

  12. Canadian Government Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan Peltier Extradition letter, 10/12/99

  13. USA v. Leonard Peltier U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota Criminal Docket No. C77-3003 (February 25, 2002)

  14. PELTIER v. Louis Freeh, ET. AL. U.S. District Court, Washington, D.C. Filed April 4, 2002 . 15a. 15a. USA v. Leonard Peltier U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit Filed December 18, 2002 No. 02-1761

  15. PELTIER v. Joseph W. Booker, Jr., Warden Appeal from the US District Court for the District of Kansas to The US Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, November 4, 2003 99-CV-3194-RDR

  16. Peltier appeals U.S. Government jurisdiction to convict him (July 22, 2005)

  17. Leonard Peltier v. Federal Bureau of Investigation Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, April 29, 2009 (Corrected 5/1/2009) No. 07-1745

Practicality 8 years, 3 months ago

As everyone can see, there have been 18 legal proceedings that have determined, substantiated, and upheld Leonard Peltier’s guilt and just incarceration over a 34 year period. There have been 6 Presidents review his case for a pardon, who have been both liberal and conservative, and NONE have pardoned him. After all the pressure placed upon the legal system from Peltier supporters, to include Amnesty International, why wouldn’t he be found innocent or pardoned during all this time?

Answer: Because He was guilty of the crime.

And just like a majority of inmates, he proclaims his innocence even when he is not.

jonas_opines 8 years, 3 months ago

I have no idea what that means, but I suspect that it's less than good.

jonas_opines 8 years, 3 months ago

artichokeheart (Anonymous) says…

"It is clear you are not really about Leonard. What is it that you really take issue with?"

My observations on a number of subjects suggest that they have a simple and absolute trust of the system, and once the system determines something to be right or wrong, that's the end of it, and no amount of logic, facts, or anything else to the contrary will sway it one bit.

Practicality 8 years, 3 months ago

I would imagine that 18 court cases over 34 years would indeed bring out all of the facts. That should be sufficient evidence for anyone when the counter argument is Leonard saying "I didn't do it" and many people only WANTING to believe that he didn't because it fits with their worldview. And to quote you so eloquently, "no amount of logic, facts, or anything else to the contrary will sway it one bit."

Was he alone in this act, probably not, but does that mean he is innocent? Definitely not.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

jonas_opines (Anonymous) says…

artichokeheart (Anonymous) says…

“It is clear you are not really about Leonard. What is it that you really take issue with?”

My observations on a number of subjects suggest that they have a simple and absolute trust of the system, and once the system determines something to be right or wrong, that's the end of it, and no amount of logic, facts, or anything else to the contrary will sway it one bit.

I also like to believe the system works. I have seen it work and I have seen it fail. I see this situation as one of the failures. If the person(s) killed were indians or locals instead of law enforcement I doubt the sentance would have been as harsh. I doubt the efforts to coerce witnesses or obtain evidence would have been as aggressive and I doubt the appeals process would be as difficult. I hold out hope that the system will be fair and impartial but if it isn't I believe we should try to do something about it.

jamessimon500 8 years, 3 months ago

If Peltier is telling the truth about his innocence, then why has he been repeatedly caught lying about his actions on the day in question. Watch the video at americanindianmafia.com and ask yourself why an innocent man would need to repeatedly change his story, and if his defenders are only interested in the truth, then why do none of them question him about his lies? Not only is Peltier guilty of murder, he is guilty of fleecing millions of good-hearted people out of their time and money with an illicit defense fund based on the fable of a political prisoner with no ulterior motive. For more on Peltier's racket, see www.NewsReleaseWire.com/28999

Peltier is his own worst enemy. He could have been free years ago if he had just accepted responsibility for his actions and had asked for forgiveness, rather than "... parlaying his Indian ancestry into a criminal enterprise." He deserves to spend the rest of his days behind bars.

kcwarpony 8 years, 3 months ago

"Peltier is his own worst enemy. He could have been free years ago if he had just accepted responsibility for his actions and had asked for forgiveness..."

Why would someone accept responsibility and ask for forgiveness for something they did not do?

It makes no sense. Admit you killed the agents and we'll let you go...??

kcwarpony 8 years, 3 months ago

Letter from Gerald Heaney, Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, to Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, April 18, 1991.

“As you know, I wrote the opinion in United States v. Peltier, 800 F.2d 772 (8th Cir. 1986), and I sat as a member of the court in an earlier appeal, United States v. Peltier, 731 F.2d 550 (8th Cir. 1984). In the case I authored, our court concluded:

“There is a possibility that the jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier had the records and data improperly withheld from the defense been available to him in order to better exploit and reinforce the inconsistencies casting strong doubts upon the government's case...”

“My thoughts on these other aspects result from a very careful study of the records of the Peltier trial and the post-trial evidence and from a study of the record in the Robideaux-Butler trial before Judge McManus in Iowa, a trial which resulted in the acquittal of Robideaux and Butler.”

“...the FBI used improper tactics in securing Peltier's extradition from Canada and in otherwise investigating and trying the Peltier case.”

Gerald W. Heaney United States Senior Circuit Judge

Judge Heaney reaffirmed this position in a subsequent letter to Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, dated October 24, 2000.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

The only reason the feds wanted Leonard to plea to crimes is so they could silence him. If Leonard was silenced he would not be able to participate in the movement. Remember what the white man did to Tecumseh and his brother the Prophet. There are good reasons why indians cannot trust the white man and it has nothing to do with the actions of the indians.

jamessimon500 8 years, 3 months ago

Judge Heaney probably regrets his choice of words. The FBI didn't try Peltier, Judge Heaney did! Now on senior status, the judge is on record as saying that Peltier was fairly tried and fairly convicted. No getting around that. In fact, there's never been a single judge who has wavered from this conclusion. It doesn't matter how Robert Redford or Peter Matthiessen spin the truth. What matters is what the courts have concluded. Even Judge Heaney has repeatedly affirmed the 8 "Findings of Fact" established by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. These truisms render Peltier's defense, in the words of the court, "fatally flawed." Peltier has never been able to refute any of them in a court of law. Taken together, and coupled with Peltier’s boast about shooting Ron Williams “…begging for his life…,” these court-defined facts isolate Peltier as the lone triggerman, beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Peltier was in the vehicle the Agents followed into the area.
  2. One of the other individuals in the vehicle knew who the Agents were.
  3. Peltier believed that the Agents were after him since he was a wanted fugitive. This is what he told the RCMP when arrested in Canada.
  4. Peltier, along with two others, was seen down by the bodies. He was holding an AR-15.
  5. The Agents were killed with a high velocity small caliber weapon like the AR-15. No other shooter was firing such a weapon. Peltier was later seen carrying this weapon out of the area. This weapon was later found in Kansas.
  6. A shell casing which matched the ejector markings of this weapon was found in the open trunk of Agent Coler’s Bureau car.
  7. Peltier was heard discussing certain details of the murders that evening.
  8. Agent Coler’s service revolver was found in a bag bearing Peltier’s thumb print. The bag was located in the motor home Peltier had been riding in prior to being stopped by an Oregon State Trooper.

The real reason why the feds want Peltier behind bars is because they believe he is guilty of executing two federal agents. The government knows, as do most Indians knowledgeable about the case, that if Peltier didn't do it, the person who did would have been identified by now. But that person does not exist. Peltier’s defense is not helped by his accomplices, Robideau and Butler, both of whom place Peltier at the scene of the crime, during the critical time window. One of these men delivered the killing shots. No one else could have done it. Robideau and Butler were acquitted. Who does that leave? If only Leonard had respected the laws he says he follows, peace and brotherhood, he would not be where he is. He remains a dark-hearted, troubled soul who thrives off manipulation, deceit, and controversy. Those who say they really care about Leonard should stop enabling him.

kcwarpony 8 years, 3 months ago

Ballistics expert Evan Hodge misled the jury (more like perjured himself) when he testified at trial that Peltier's AR-15 was the murder weapon. Hodge testified that the .223 casing recovered from Coler's trunk had been loaded into and extracted from an AR-15 rifle which had been recovered, in damaged condition, after a car carrying several AIM members exploded on the Kansas interstate on September 10, 1975. His conclusion was based on a comparison of the microscopic characteristics of the extractor marks on the rim of the cartridge case which was conducted in late December 1975 or early January 1976. His conclusion was described in a lab report dated February 10, 1976. He stated that he could not reach a conclusion as the whether the AR-15 had actually fired the corresponding bullet from that casing because of damage to the firing pin.

Yet up pops an FBI teletype dated October 2, 1975 that reads:

"Recovered .223 caliber colt rifle received from SA__BATF, contains different firing pin than that rifle used at RESMURS scene."


Hodge HAD performed a firing pin test on the rifle and the .223 casing located in the trunk of Coler's car and it had produced a negative result.

That ballistics test was concealed from the defense counsel and from the jury and it shows that the bullet could not have come from Peltier's weapon. Not only that, Peltier was denied a new trial not because the 8th Circuit believed that he was guilty, they expressly note that he might be innocent, but because of a legal technicality.

Judge Heaney had good reasons for writing his letter.

jamessimon500 8 years, 3 months ago

Agent Hodge was ordered by the Court of Appeals to the witness stand for a special evidentiary hearing to address that very issue. Unfortunately for the Peltier cause, the court found Hodge's testimony "only added to rather than detracted from" his credibility. The Court was critical of the prosecution for not initially producing the teletype, but that same Court of Appeals nevertheless concluded, "“When all is said and done, however, a few simple but very important facts remain. The casing introduced into evidence had in fact been extracted from the Wichita AR-15. This point was not disputed; although the defense had its own ballistics expert, it offered no contrary evidence.”

In other words, Peltier has never been able to overcome that fact in court. He is guilty as charged.

kcwarpony 8 years, 3 months ago

I am not questioning Peltier’s guilt or innocence. After reading the transcripts from the Butler/Robideau trial and the Peltier trial, I believe Peltier did not receive a fair trial.

“There is no direct evidence that Mr. Peltier shot the agents because no one testified they saw him pull the trigger. But as we stated above and restate here, the body of circumstantial evidence underlying the Commission's decision is sufficient for the purposes of rational basis review.”

“Much of the government's behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and in its prosecution of Mr. Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed.”

Peltier v. Booker, Case No. 02-3384 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, November 4, 2003


To imprison someone under these circumstances is a crime within itself.

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