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Judge denies treating Indians, non-Indians differently

A judge in New Mexico says his comments about an Indian defendant's sentence do not mean he treats people differently based on their race.

District Judge Thomas Hynes sentenced Bryan Comanche, 21, to seven years rather than the maximum 12 years. According to an audio transcript of the proceeding, he said Comanche's punishment could have been harsher.

"What if, instead of being Native American, you were Anglo?" Hynes said, The Farmington Daily Times reported. "What would I do then? Probably be tougher, I guess. I don't know."

Hynes said he only meant to draw attention to the fact that Comanche's victim, Maynard Whiteman, was also Indian, and that the beating was not premeditated. Had the victim been of another race or had been premeditated, the judge could have imposed additional penalties.

"I think all of the parties were too drunk to premeditate anything," Hynes told the paper.

Get the Story:
Judge comments on defendant's race during sentencing (The Farmington Daily Times 8/11)

Relevant Links:
Navajo Nation -
Navajo Nation Council -

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