United States v. Peltier
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
585 F.2d 314 (1978)
In early 1975, Leonard Peltier, Darrell Butler, Robert Robideau (defendants), and other activists in the American Indian Movement moved into an encampment on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at the request of tribal elders. In June 1975, two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents investigating felonies on the reservation were following a van in which Peltier and two other people were riding. The van stopped, a shootout ensued, and the FBI agents were killed. Peltier and other participants in the shootout escaped, and Peltier was arrested months later in Canada. The federal government (plaintiff) charged Peltier, Robideau, Butler, and a fourth individual with first-degree murder. Robideau and Butler were tried and acquitted, and the government dismissed the charges against the fourth individual. At Peltier’s trial, the government presented evidence including that (1) Peltier was in the van; (2) Peltier knew the FBI agents were following the van; (3) Peltier thought the FBI agents were looking for him because there was a warrant for his arrest on an attempted-murder charge; (4) Peltier was seen holding an AR-15 near the FBI agents’ vehicles; (5) medical and ballistics evidence suggested that the FBI agents had been killed by small-caliber bullets fired from an AR-15; (6) before Peltier’s eventual arrest, Peltier fled after Oregon police stopped a motor home in which Peltier was riding; and (7) a search of the motor home revealed one of the dead FBI agents’ weapons in a bag bearing Peltier’s thumbprint. A jury convicted Peltier and sentenced him to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment. Peltier appealed, asserting, among other things, that (1) the trial court had improperly admitted evidence regarding Peltier’s previous attempted-murder charge and flight in Oregon, and (2) the trial court had denied Peltier his right to compulsory process by improperly refusing to admit Peltier’s evidence suggesting that the FBI had framed him, including testimony from a purported eyewitness who later stated that FBI-prepared affidavits were false and signed under threat of physical harm.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Ross, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 710,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 710,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.