Post-Trial Actions - Civil - US v Leonard Peltier

Post-Trial Actions


 FOIA Documents

  FBI War Against AIM
  Incident at Oglala
  The Trial

 Trial Transcript

  Opening Statements
  Government Case
  The Defense

*Taking of Evidence Ends

  Witness List

 Post-Trial Actions


 Current Actions

  Executive Clemency
  Executive Review

 Home Page

  US -v- Peltier

 U.S. v Leonard Peltier (CR NO. C77-3003)

RE: Civil Rights Complaint (2002-2004)

A civil complaint was filed in April 2002 pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S. Ct. 1999, 29 L. Ed.2d 619 (1971), to redress the deprivation by defendants of rights applicable to Leonard Peltier under the U.S. Constitution. Named agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), both in their individual capacity as employees, either currently or formerly, of the FBI the complaint claimed, have engaged in a systematic and officially sanctioned campaign of misinformation and disinformation designed to prevent Peltier from receiving a fair hearing on his claims for both clemency before the President of the United States and parole before the U.S. Parole Commission. Furthermore, certain named defendants failed to adequately supervise and control the conduct of employees and/or agents of the FBI in direct contravention of statutory and regulatory requirements designed to preserve the impartiality of the FBI and to preserve the due process rights of Leonard Peltier. These actions denied Peltier his rights under Article II of the Constitution, and the First, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments thereto. The FBI knowingly engaged in politically motivated conduct in direct violation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Manual of Administrative Policy, and Manual of Investigative Policy.

In May 2004, the DC District Court ruled that the actions of the former and active agents were protected by the First Amendment, and also stated that the court lacked jurisdiction over the active agents named in the suit (even though FBI headquarters is located in Washington, DC). The court dismissed the complaint.

RE: Defamation (2003-2004)

On May 1, 2003, Peltier filed a civil complaint against Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country. Statements were authored by DeMain that were false, defamatory, and malicious. They were then circulated by DeMain's newspaper with reckless disregard and with the knowledge that they were false. DeMain stated, as a matter of fact, that Leonard Peltier was guilty of shooting the two FBI agents when the government itself has repeatedly admitted that it did not and cannot prove that Leonard Peltier shot the agents. DeMain also implied Peltier's involvement in the Pine Ridge murder of fellow AIM member Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash in 1976 (PDF Format).

  • DeMain had avoided giving a deposition for several months. Just before a deposition was finally to take place, on or about April 9, 2004, the two parties began settlement negotiations. With nothing further to negotiate, an agreement was reached on April 16th. However, DeMain failed to honor the agreement. Therefore, on May 24, 2004, a Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement was filed with the Eighth U.S. District Court of Claims in Minneapolis, Minnesota (PDF Format). See also: Affidavit and Exhibits (PDF Format).

  • On May 26, 2004, DeMain complied with the agreement and signed a statement in which he retracted his published claims.

  • However, on May 28, 2004, DeMain issued a press release in breach of the settlement agreement. 

  • On June 3, 2004, after further negotiations, a satisfied Leonard Peltier dismissed with prejudice his complaint against DeMain. (Note: "With prejudice" refers to Peltier's dismissal of the complaint for purely personal reasons. He did not relinquish his claim, that is to say, and this outcome in no way diminishes the merits of the original complaint. Leonard Peltier's dismissal of the complaint also does not preclude him from bringing suit against DeMain at a later time. Peltier merely can't bring a new case on the same basis as the dismissed case.)

RE: Congressional Investigation (2004-Present)

In spring 2004, the Judiciary Committee (U.S. House of Representatives) announced plans to investigate misconduct on the part of the FBI. In response, the Peltier attorneys submitted a formal request to Congress for this investigation to include a full examination of the misconduct exhibited on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the 1970s, and in the case against Leonard Peltier. Sign the online petition today.

RE: Sentence Computation, Mandatory Release (2007)

Peltier v. United States Bureau of Prisons et al.

Case Number: 3:2007cv00416
Filed: March 5, 2007
Court: Pennsylvania Middle District Court
Office: Scranton Office
County: Centre
Presiding Judge: Honorable Edwin M. Kosik
Referring Judge: Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt
Nature of Suit: Civil Rights - Other Civil Rights
Cause: 28:1331 Federal Question: Other Civil Rights
Jurisdiction: U.S. Government Defendant

Jury Demanded By:


The government's Motion to Dismiss was GRANTED on November 20, 2007. See the Report and Recommendation and Memorandum and Order.

RE: Sentencing Reform Act (2004-2009)

On September 2, 2004, in a major lawsuit filed in Washington, DC, the Peltier attorneys claimed that United States Department of Justice officials have knowingly violated the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (and its amendments) and illegally extended Peltier's prison term by 12 years or more.  

The defendants named in the lawsuit include the U.S. Parole Commission and individuals who have served on the Commission during the past two decades; Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Attorneys General Edwin Meese, Richard Thornburgh, William Barr, and Janet Reno; and the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Harley Lappin, as well as former directors J. Michael Quinlan and Kathleen Hawk Sawyer.

The Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) was passed to address what Congress thought were inconsistent sentences imposed by different judges on different individuals convicted of the same crimes, as well as arbitrary parole decisions. A new system —one of determinate sentences—was born and the Parole Commission was abolished.

At the heart of the suit is the refusal of the government to enforce Title II, Chapter II, Section 235(b)(3) of the Sentencing Reform Act. Effective on October 12, 1984, this part of the law ordered that parole dates "consistent with the applicable parole guideline" be issued to all "old system" prisoners within the following five-year period, at the end of which time (on October 11, 1989) the Commission would cease to exist. 

Click here to learn more.


Copyright 2003-2015 International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Last Updated on Wednesday April 15, 2015