Press release from Ron Napoles
Bishop, CA- On July 7, 2017, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) filed last December by attorneys for the Warlie/Napoles family.
In his order, U.S. District Court Judge Dale Drozd cited Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez and the recent 9th Circuit ruling on Tavares v. Whitehouse as the standard definition for “detention.” Drozd indicated that only continued physical confinement or permanent banishment by a tribe could confer habeas jurisdiction to the court. The dismissal was a result of the Court’s narrowly defined view of the term “detention.” While the ICRA provides judicial relief for a variety of violations of civil liberties brought on by tribal governments, U.S. Courts view physical detention or permanent banishment as the only means for cause of action.
Drozd acknowledged that the family’s previous trespass citations have been resolved in the family’s favor and that new trespass charges filed again on April 1, 2017 are still pending. Although the Tribal Council has banned the family from accessing family lands, Judge Drozd clarified that family members are not currently under physical confinement as defined by the court. The family attorneys argue that the ban from accessing lands is tantamount to a permanent banishment.
In November of 2016, after receiving consecutive reversals of previous trespass charges and a final dismissal, descendants of original assignment holder Ida Warlie reoccupied land parcels seized by the Tribal Council back in 2014. While rebuilding the family livestock fence around the property, tribal police issued multiple trespass citations. In a special hearing on the matter, Tribal Court Judge Bill Kockenmeister issued Temporary Protection Orders against the family giving Full Faith and Credit to local law enforcement for arrest under the Violence Against Women Act. The TPO also threatened federal prosecution, prohibited family members from possessing guns and ammunition, denying their right to hunt through the winter months.
Pursuant to the ICRA, lawyers for the Warlie/Napoles family filed the Petition as a result of action taken by the Bishop Tribal Council and Judge Kockenmeister for unlawful detention and conviction of crimes including trespass which ejected and restrained the family from their land without due process or equal protection of law.
Spokesperson for the family, Rick Napoles stated, “We will continue to assert our civil rights in and out of court. The Federal Court’s decision has no bearing on the land issue. We continue to assert our right to occupy and possess family land. The Tribal Council has not been granted authority to take any tribal member’s land.” Napoles also reiterates that a 2013 tribal membership vote rejected the Tribal Council expansion of the Paiute Palace Casino and use of the family’s land assignment.
The Warlie, Napoles and Williams families are represented by Andrea Seielstad, University of Dayton School of Law- Dayton Ohio and Jack Duran, Duran Law Office-Roseville California.Napoles Decision