Navajo Man Tells Justices Double Jeopardy Flips Conviction

By Andrew Westney (December 8, 2021, 8:53 PM EST) -- A Navajo Nation member has told the U.S. Supreme Court that his federal court conviction for sexual assault should be thrown out because his earlier indictment in a Court of Indian Offenses meant he was unconstitutionally subjected to double jeopardy.

Navajo member Merle Denezpi is challenging a Tenth Circuit decision that despite his indictment by the Court of Indian Offenses of the Ute Mountain Ute Agency — also known as a Code of Federal Regulations court — for the same incident for which he was convicted, double jeopardy didn't apply because the Court of Indian Offenses has tribal sovereign authority separate from the federal government's....

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