Peltier remains at USP Coleman serving the remainder of his two consecutive life sentences for the brutal murder of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, along with the additional seven consecutive years for his armed escape from Lompoc Penitentiary. The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (ILPDC) has relocated, again, for about the sixth time, from Florida to a desktop in an apartment in Marshall, Wisconsin, along with an updated website.
The latest website is well done but still contains the same fabrications, misinformation and some provable lies that have been the bedrock of Peltier’s persona since his arrest in Canada on February 6, 1976. This website mirrors the same myth and folklore that has been promoted by the ever-morphing Peltier committees.
In other words, within the Peltier camp, and Peltier himself, nothing has changed; peddle the same falsehoods repeated ad nauseam, only now in a more presentable format. These falsehoods and erroneous claims have been continually exposed through a lengthy appellate process.
The appellate courts have not shied away from recognizing Peltier’s guilt as just a few examples clearly demonstrate:
“The direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…Peltier’s contention of manufactured evidence are far from convincing.”
(Direct Appeal; Eighth Circuit, 9/14/78)
“When all is said and done, however, a few simple but very important facts remain. The casing introduced into evidence had in fact been extracted from the Wichita AR-15.” (Eighth Circuit, 9/11/86; referencing Peltier’s AR-15)
“Peltier’s arguments fail because their underlying premises are fatally flawed.”
(Eighth Circuit, 7/7/93)
“The record as a whole leaves no doubt that the jury accepted the government’s theory that Peltier had personally killed the two agents, after they were seriously wounded, by shooting them at point blank range with an AR-15 rifle.”
(Rule 35 Motion, Eighth Circuit, 12/18/02)
And, “I believe he got a fair trial, not a perfect trial, but a fair trial” (Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Heaney; 1991, ’60 Minutes’ interview. Judge Heaney played a critical role in Peltier’s appellate history, and later as well. (Footnote 1)
* * *
Peltier, not likely a fisherman, nonetheless is always trolling for cash; lately through the Peltier Store or with the usual begging to help with his legal woes that all can be found in the same smelly chum bucket.
His, Peltier v. Joel Sacks, et. al. case, stemming from the great Tumwater, Washington paintings caper, hit a brick wall recently (Fn. 2)
On August 19th a federal judge dismissed, with prejudice, Peltier’s federal civil suit.
A month later, as is his right to do so, Peltier filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (NCCA). So, what happens next? Another year delay, or longer perhaps (assuming the Ninth Circuit even entertains accepting the case), with two possible outcomes: The NCCA upholds the dismissal which means, literally, case closed, or rejects the lower court’s dismissal which then means probably another year or more as Peltier and Washington State continue their battle.
However, there is a much deeper problem.
In dismissing Peltier’s civil suit, with prejudice (unquestionably a significant legal distinction), the District Court apparently accepted the State’s legal arguments, based on a factual finding, that Peltier had ‘no standing’ to bring the civil suit forward in the first place. It was undisputed that the paintings displayed in the government facility in Tumwater, Washington did not belong to Leonard Peltier; a fact that was not initially brought to the court’s attention. Peltier had given the artwork to the ILPDC and it is a hypothetical supposition whether the ILPDC could even bring similar action against Washington State.
Yet, Peltier appealed to the Ninth Circuit and the case will likely end there.
Peltier tells us he will try again for parole. Let’s hope he finds a better attorney this time because the last one made a public statement that was arguably the dumbest statement in the entire history of the Peltier saga.
On July 28, 2009, before a small group gathered outside the concrete walls of Lewisburg Penitentiary, the attorney made this outlandish comment:
“…they (the FBI and government) don’t have any creativity, they don’t come up with anything new. They don’t have any greater ability to explain their justification for their position. It’s a very wooden position, kill an FBI agent and live the rest of your life in prison.”
A first semester law student could recognize the fallacy of such a baseless argument. The Government, (unlike Peltier over the years changing his version of the events of June 26, 1975), has no need to come up with anything new beyond Peltier’s Fargo trial, conviction and numerous appeals. The ‘government,’ that obviously escaped the attorney’s troubled logic, repeatedly, over the course of many appeals, explained in great detail their justification for Peltier’s conviction and continued incarceration. Throughout that entire process Peltier’s conviction and sentence has never been altered. Nevertheless, the attorney did get one thing right; if someone brutally murders a law enforcement officer then logic dictates that spending one’s life in prison, is justified.
Noted at the bottom of the new homepage is the repeated reminder that:
“Much of the information contained on this site is derived from ‘In the Spirit of Crazy Horse’ by renowned author Peter Matthiessen…He is a highly respected author and his works have received wide acclaim.”
To reiterate an infamous phrase; depending on what the meaning of the word is, is, perhaps the ILPDC should point out that Mr. Matthiessen passed away seven years ago, April 5, 2014 to be exact. Matthiessen did attend Peltier’s 2009 Lewisburg parole hearing, but nevertheless his seminal work was not without serious criticism. Matthiessen “is utterly unconvincing, indeed embarrassingly sophomoric, when he pleads the legal innocence of individual Indian criminals…and not only fails to convince; he inadvertently makes a strong case for Mr. Peltier’s guilt.” (Legal scholar and Harvard Law professor, Alan Dershowitz, New York Times book review, 1983.)
The homepage of the updated website carries forward a more recent fallacy from 2017:
“James Reynolds Former US Attorney said (The Guardian 01/04/2017) of Leonard, “You’re not really participating in the crime yourself. Just because you’re there, you’re going to get nailed.” Citing Peltier’s motives, Reynolds added, “He didn’t go out there with the intention to kill anybody. He was trying to protect his people”
The Guardian article barely scratches the surface of the facts behind the outrageous public claims made by James H. Reynolds. That could explain why the ILPDC didn’t go further into the alleged authority over the Peltier case that Reynolds’ claimed. Claims, that upon even a casual examination simply evaporated. To state that Reynolds was disingenuous, confused or distracted would be much too mild of a criticism of his public assertions, because they were transparently untrue. Rather than rehashing the Reynolds fiasco here, and to demonstrate that Reynolds, the interloper dancing on the graves of two murdered and mutilated human beings, please take a moment and see the following (Fn. 3).
According to the new website, Peltier’s thirty-three week effort to raise cash for his legal fund has reached an astonishing 36% of its goal, which pretty well demonstrates the continued lack of interest within his support structure. Maybe folks like bantering his name about, waving some posters and banners, but when it comes down to it, hands seem to get stuck in pockets and although Peltier has had some very capable attorneys, good pro bono attorneys are hard to find, and keep.
At least in the begging arena Peltier has avoided the previously repeated canard that giving money to him was “tax-deductible.” That is gone, finally, or for now at least, by the wayside. Perhaps those prior attempts at tax-deductible donations were finally noted by the I.R.S.
The last thing Peltier may be is a charity case. What he is though is a convicted felon who remains, despite his personal travails and alligator tears of innocence, guilty and an unrepentant convicted murderer. (Fn. 5)
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
1)The Heaney factor: http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2017/10/
2) Leonard Peltier, Chauncey Peltier v. Joel Sacks, et. al., #C17-5209-JCC.
Review of early history of the Washington State case:
See also ‘Reply in support of State Defendants motion for summary judgment,’ noting date, January 22, 2021, 3:17-cv-05209-JCC, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma.
3) James H. Reynolds: Part 1
Reynolds follow up: http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2021/06/
Tax deductible issues:
5) Why Peltier is the worst: http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2019/03/