High court asked to review Indian status case from Arizona
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- An Arizona man who had his 90-year sentence on assault and firearms charges restored has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
The focus at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had been on identity of American Indians.
A panel of the court ruled in 2013 that prosecutors didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Damien Zepeda's bloodline derived from a federally recognized tribe, reversing much of his convictions.
The full appellate court later reinstated the convictions, saying evidence was sufficient to find he is American Indian. It also provided new guidelines on what's needed to prove a defendant is American Indian.
Federal authorities have jurisdiction over major crimes on tribal land when the suspect, victim or both is American Indian.