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March 19, 2002

Peltier appeals lost bid to reduce sentence

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Keywords: Leonard Peltier AIM NYM american indian activists native american activist leonard peltier appeal

Source: The Associated Press, FARGO, N.D.

The Associated Press FARGO, N.D. — American Indian activist Leonard Peltier has appealed a judge’s decision to uphold the two murder sentences imposed on him in 1977.

Peltier claimed he never had the chance to argue that his sentences should be based on the theory he, at most, aided others in the killings of two FBI agents in 1975, or that he acted in self-defense.

Leonard Peltier was one of four men charged with killing the agents in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Two suspects were acquitted in 1976, and the third was freed for lack of evidence.

Peltier was convicted of the murders in Fargo and was sentenced in 1977.

In November, he asked a judge to allow the two life terms to run concurrently, rather than consecutively. The change would give Peltier an earlier chance at parole.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson rejected the request, saying Peltier had earlier opportunities to make the same argument.

Peltier’s previous appeals, including a similar request to reduce his sentence, also have been denied.

Leonard Peltier’s latest request was filed November 1 and rejected February 25. Peltier filed a notice of appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday.

Peltier is being held in the federal prison in Leavenworth, KS and is next up for parole in 2008.

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