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News ::
Leonard Peltier's appeal denied (english)
06 Nov 2003
Once again the courts have closed the door to justice and the truth.
Leonard Peltier's appeal denied

Once again the courts have closed the door to justice and the truth. The U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, on Nov. 4, 2003, issued their ruling denying Leonard Peltier's appeal.

The conclusion of the ruling by the court states: "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. Mr. Peltier asserts that "the blatant government misconduct is a mitigating factor which should bear strongly on whether (he)
should be immediately considered for parole…." He may be correct. But whether the Parole Commission gave proper weight to this mitigating evidence is not a question we have authority to review. Our only inquiry is whether the Commission was rational in concluding Mr. Peltier participated in the execution of the two federal agents. On the record before us, we cannot say this determination was arbitrary and capricious."

A very interesting statement. The Parole Commission based its decision upon a trial where evidence that Leonard could have used to prove his innocence was withheld and part of what was used to convict Leonard was testimony by witnesses intimidated by the FBI and the court admits this as fact. The court also in its ruling stated that "the Commission's description of the firefight as an "ambush" was imprecise: there is no indication any of the participants were lying in wait for the agents." And the court admits: "In 1975, the
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota was embroiled in conflict between traditional elders, who sought independence from Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) managers, and Native Americans supportive of the BIA power structure. The conflict became violent, and the traditional elders sought protection from members of the American Indian Movement (AIM). Mr. Peltier and other AIM activists arrived at Pine Ridge to defend reservation traditionalists."

So the court acknowledges the reason why Leonard was there, it acknowledges that the government behavior at Pine Ridge, which was to side against the traditionalist, is to be condemned. It acknowledges the violence, over 60 traditionalists had been murdered, many victims of drive by shootings. The first two AIM members who went on trial were found not guilty for reason of self-defense. But the court states that the Parole Commission' s denial of parole for Leonard, which was based upon things that the court states should be
condemned, was not "arbitrary and capricious." Again the courts have shown, that in the case of Leonard Peltier, such things as justice and common sense do not apply.

Like in the past when Leonard lost appeals, was not granted clemency and not paroled, there are those that want to give up because Leonard will never find justice in a system that only acts in its own interest even when its actions stand against any sense of justice and even violates its own laws. Though it is clear that the system will not grant justice to Leonard, but we should not give up. For what will grant justice to Leonard is if enough people demand it and how
the government then decides to free Leonard is up to it. Rather than give into the government and the system of injustice, we should use each and every act by the government and its courts as further example of the rightness of our cause and struggle even harder. I know that it is hard to continue this struggle; I have been actively continuously working for Leonard for 24 years. I have gone through all the appeals and felt the great sorrow and frustration that each
step has brought us. But we cannot surrender in the face of such oppression, for the sake of Leonard we cannot surrender and for the sake of all who resist this system that works in the interest of a few at the expense of the many.

In the spirit of rage and commitment

Arthur J. Miller
Tacoma LPSG
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