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Man in peyote case accuses county of wrongdoing

A self-proclaimed medicine man is accusing attorneys in Utah County, Utah, of suppressing evidence when they prosecuted him for possession of peyote.

James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney, the founder of his own Native American Church, was charged with using peyote without being a member of a federally recognized tribe. The Utah Supreme Court later threw out the charges because state law makes no mention of tribal enrollment.

Mooney claims the legal battle could have been avoided because a report identified him as a Native American Church leader. But the report actually came from a sheriff's deputy who investigated the case, the county attorney said.

In an agreement with federal prosecutors, Mooney and wife, also non-Indian, have agreed not to use or possess peyote until they become members of a federally recognized tribe or there is a change in law regarding their status.

Get the Story:
Mooney says office suppressed evidence (The Deseret Morning News 3/8)

Supreme Court Decision:
Gonzales v. UDV (February 21, 2006)

Utah Peyote Bill:
Controlled Substance Amendments (HB 60)

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