A circuit judge has ruled a Farm Creek man can be prosecuted in state court despite his claim he is exempt from that court system because he's a mixed-blood Ute.
In the ruling released Monday, Eighth Circuit Judge Lynn Payne said Roger Gardner, 19, can be tried on drunken-driving charges in the state courts."Although Gardner has significant Indian blood, under the circumstances he has not been recognized as being an Indian by any tribe, the federal government or any society of Indians," Payne said.
Gardner was arrested in May by Roosevelt police and charged with drunken driving. He sought dismissal of the charge, saying the city lacks jurisdiction because he is a mixed-blood Indian.
Mixed bloods were taken off the Ute tribal roles in 1954 and are no longer recognized by the tribe or federal government as Indians.
Last May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Indian tribes no longer retain criminal misdemeanor jurisdiction over non-Indians.
The high court ruling left mixed bloods like Gardner in a jurisdictional void. But with Payne's ruling in hand, city prosecutors will schedule a trial date for Gardner.