Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Crow Indians’ Lawsuit Against F.B.I. Agent to Proceed

The court declined last month to reverse a 2010 federal court ruling that said the F.B.I. agent, Matthew Oravec, did not have qualified immunity from legal action, a protection usually given to government employees when acting in an official capacity — and a status sought by the Justice Department, which had appealed the ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. “The decision puts federal and state law enforcement agents on notice that they may be held personally liable if they discriminate against Indians in investigating crimes against them,” said Patricia S. Bangert, a Denver lawyer who is representing one of the families. The lawsuit is being closely watched around Indian country. Filed in 2009, it maintains that federal officials violated the Fifth Amendment, guaranteeing equal protection and due process rights. In its 2010 ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court dropped several other F.B.I. agents and federal prosecutors from the lawsuit but allowed the claim against Mr. Oravec to continue...more

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