Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the convictions of members of a non-federally recognized tribe in Montana.
The court stated in the first paragraph of its decision: “Gregory Allen Davis and Michael Howard Reed irrationally believe that their membership in the Little Shell Nation, an unrecognized Indian tribe, means they are not United States citizens subject to the jurisdiction of the federal courts. This belief led them into serious trouble. First, Reed threatened North Dakota District Judge Ralph Erickson because he refused to dismiss federal drug charges against two other Little Shell members. Months later, when District Judge Daniel Hovland denied a motion to dismiss a firearm charge pending against Reed, Davis filed a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) financing statement listing Judge Hovland and acting United States Attorney Lynn Jordheim as $3.4 million debtors and Davis as the secured party. After a three-day trial, a jury convicted Davis and Reed of conspiring to file and filing false liens . . . . The jury also convicted Reed of corruptly obstructing justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503(a), based on his earlier threats. On appeal, Davis argues that the evidence was insufficient to prove a violation of § 1521. Both Davis and Reed argue, for somewhat different reasons, that the district court violated their constitutional rights by allowing them to represent themselves at trial. We affirm [the convictions].”