United States v. Many White Horses, No. 19-30018 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's imposition of a special condition of supervised release prohibiting defendant from residing in the town of Browning, Montana, which is the tribal headquarters of the Blackfeet Indian Nation, or visiting the town without prior approval of his probation officer. Defendant is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation and the special condition was imposed after he violated the conditions of his probation through alcohol and drug-related infractions.
The panel held that the residency restriction is a legitimate condition of supervised release, because the condition is not an illegal banishment or exclusion. In this case, the condition allows defendant to freely travel or reside in all but one quarter square mile of the 1.5 million acres of reservation land, restricting only his access to Browning itself. Furthermore, defendant is free to visit his family, to participate in tribal life, and to receive tribal services in Browning. The panel also held that the tribe's authority does not preclude the federal government from exercising its own authority over defendant and the government's exercise of authority over defendant does not infringe the inherent sovereignty of the Blackfeet Nation. Finally, the panel held that the residency restriction is substantively reasonable.