State allowed to prosecute man

Judge's ruling says he is not a member of a recognized tribe

Published: Wednesday, April 30 2008 12:35 a.m. MDT

Humiston said the arguments he made in the motion filed with the court are legitimate and are currently pending before the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Reber case. He also specifically criticized Payne's citation of the 1846 U.S. Supreme Court case in his ruling.

"That is not the law," Humiston said. "He's accusing me of not following the law and he's talking about a Supreme Court ruling that came down in 1846? He's talking about a completely different era."

Humiston said in the late 1970s, Congress directed the Interior Department to create a list of all federally recognized Indian tribes. He said subsequent to that, case law has established that blood quantum is not the government's concern and that tribes have an absolute right to determine their membership.

In the case of Clark, Humiston said he is recognized by the Uintah Band of American Indians as a member of their tribe, noting that the band is a diverse group.

"The Uintah Band consists of some members of the Ute Tribe, some who were terminated and some who were never terminated and never enrolled," the attorney said. "It's a mixed bunch."

Humiston has unsuccessfully tried to have Payne removed from the Clark case once before. He said he'll likely try again, characterizing the judge's apparent move to seek sanctions against him as "bizarre" and indicative of a "personal vendetta."

Unlike Humiston, Duchesne County Attorney Stephen Foote said he was "definitely pleased" with Payne's ruling.

"It's a well-written, well-researched opinion," the prosecutor said.

E-mail: geoff@ubstandard.com

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