10th Circuit denies rehearing in Indian jury bias case
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday denied a rehearing in a jury bias case involving a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

Kerry Dean Benally was convicted of assaulting a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer on the Utah portion of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. A juror came forward and said other jurors -- including the foreman -- made racial comments about American Indians, alcohol and crime.

Based on the information, a federal judge ordered a new trial but the 10th Circuit reversed last November. Benally sought a rehearing but a majority of judges declined the request without comment yesterday.

Four judges, however, said they would have granted the rehearing. In a somewhat lengthy dissent, Chief Judge Robert H. Henry said Benally's constitutional right to an impartial jury was violated.

"[D]espite the district court’s best efforts at protecting Mr. Benally’s Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury, the jury foreman clearly lied during the voir dire proceedings about his ability to be impartial," Henry wrote.

Benally could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case.

Get the Story:
Appeals Court Denies Ute Man's Request For Hearing (AP 3/23)

10th Circuit Decision:
US v. Benally (March 23, 2009)

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10th Circuit blocks new trial in Indian jury bias case (11/14)
10th Circuit to hear jury discrimination case (8/20)
Ute man granted new trial based on jury bias (12/4)