United States v. Reza-Ramos, No. 11-10029 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Defendant, a non-Indian, appealed his conviction under the federal murder statute, 18 U.S.C. 111, for the murder of the victim on the Tohono O’odham Indian reservation in Arizona. The court concluded that section 1111 was applicable to defendant under the Indian General Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 1152, which makes federal criminal law applicable in federal enclaves when the defendant is a non-Indian and the victim is an Indian, because the government adduced sufficient evidence to establish that the victim in this case was an Indian. The court held that the evidence introduced at trial, taken in the light most favorable to the government, was sufficient to establish that defendant acted with premeditation and, therefore, the court affirmed defendant's conviction for first degree premeditated murder. Because the district court erred in defining the term “burglary” in section 1111 by reference to Arizona’s third-degree burglary statute, and this error was not harmless, the court vacated defendant's conviction for felony murder.