Court rules against Peltier in documents case

Minneapolis, Minnesota (AP) 5-09

Leonard Peltier has lost another round in court in his effort to compel the FBI to disclose about 10,500 pages of documents about his case.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled on the case April 29, rejecting Peltier’s claim that the district court should have reviewed all the documents, not just a sample of about 500 pages.

The appeals court said Peltier didn’t make that argument during the trial so the district court in Minnesota didn't abuse its discretion by not doing it.

Further, the appeals court said the lower court was correct in ruling that the Freedom of Information Act's exemptions cover the bulk of the disputed documents, shielding them from disclosure.

Peltier is serving two life sentences for the deaths of two FBI agents during a 1975 standoff near Oglala, S.D., on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He has appealed his conviction several times, without success.

In 2001, he requested all the FBI’s records about himself and received more than 70,400 pages of records.

However, the FBI withheld thousands more pages because it claimed they were excempt from the FOIA because they could disclose the identity of confidential sources, among other reasons.

8th Circuit Court of Appeal