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Leonard Peltier Trial: 1977

Appeals Denied

The year 1982 brought a motion for a new trial in U.S. District Court in Fargo. Judge Benson refused a motion that he remove himself from the case, then denied the new-trial motion. In October 1983, the U.S. Court of Appeals, however, hearing oral arguments for a new trial, reversed Benson's decision. Following the resulting evidentiary hearing in October 1984, the judge again refused a new trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals again heard oral arguments in October 1985. Judge Gerald Heaney recalled that prosecutor Lynn Crooks had said Peltier was "the man who came down and killed those FBI agents in cold blood." To another judge's question, Crooks then said, "But we can't prove who shot those agents."

The appeal was denied on September 11, 1986. On October 5, 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court again refused to hear the case.

Peltier remains imprisoned.

Bernard Ryan, Jr.

Suggestions for Further Reading

Churchill, Ward, and James Vander Wall. Agents of Repression: The FBI'S Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 1988.

—. The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Domestic Dissent in the United States. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 1990.

Matthiessen, Peter. In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. New York: Viking, 1991.

Messerschmidt, Jim. The Trial of Leonard Peltier. Boston: South End Press, 1983.

Peltier, Leonard. Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Weyler, Rex. Blood of the Land: The Government and Corporate War Against the American Indian Movement. New York: Everest House, 1982.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Leonard Peltier Trial: 1977 - Arrest, Escape, Extradition, "it Was The Agents …", Myrtle Poor Bear Irrelevant, Appeals Denied